Sunday 27 November 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 27/11/2022

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Good habits

This week, we pull on our mittens and make for Tallinn’s best toyshop, rustle up a cocktail with a kick and meet a chef refining traditional Thai cookery. We also scrub up on a new beauty regime, recommend some top bottles to add to your cellar and celebrate a small city with plenty of pull. But first, who’s that coming round the bend? Why, it’s Tyler Brûlé…

Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Riding the rails

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting on the terrace in the sunshine, easing out of a fog caused by five hours of dance floor and champagne at a gathering of friends for my birthday. The original plan was for something intimate and contained but these things have a tendency to get out of hand on the numbers front and by 03.00 there was a tightly packed group jumping to Exile’s J-pop classic “Choo Choo Train”. Go have a peek online to sample the general vibe; there’s a bit of choreography that you might want to master for your next twirl on the tiles. In a moment I’ll get to the answer to last weekend’s “name the price for room-service capp and OJ in Miami” competition and announce the winners. Before that, let’s rewind the tape.

Monday, Milan. The rail journey between Zürich and Milano Centrale is one of my favourite day trips and is now full of rituals. There’s the 07.20 coffee at the Miró pop-up at Zürich Hauptbahnhof, the stride down the platform to the silent carriage for a rear-facing seat, a bit of settling in and then a walk down to the dining car for another coffee and maybe a bite of something light. Milan wasn’t yet in Christmas mode but the city wasn’t short of shoppers. After three quick meetings I swung up to Como for a little wardrobe top-up at A Gi Emme (one of Italy’s best multi-brand shops), crossed the border to Lugano for another meeting and was on the 18.30-ish back to Zürich, where I found a table in the dining car and enjoyed a hearty Swiss dish for dinner, accompanied by a glass of fendant. Perfection on rails.

Tuesday, Lisbon. The 06.10 Tap flight to Lisbon is not pretty. Andrew has already filled you in on most of the details of our amazing book launch. The two key bits that he left out were the speedy mini-book signing that we did at Under the Cover, one of our favourite independent book and magazine shops in Europe, and the most exquisite dinner at Cacué.

Wednesday, Lisbon and A Coruña. If there’s a stretch of Europe that’s in need of high-speed rail, it’s the Lisbon-Porto-Vigo-Santiago-A Coruña corridor. While a flight via Madrid was an option, I decided to get the very trusty Samuel, who is among Lisbon’s best chauffeurs, to drive the six hours up to Galicia. After an afternoon spent at the HQ of one of world’s biggest retailers (which could that be?) I visited the just-opened Steven Meisel exhibition on the harbour. Wow! If you have a passion for fashion photography and believe that the early 1990s were a golden era, you need to make your way to A Coruña and spend an hour or two at the exhibition, as well as the adjoining café and gift shop. I would also add a stop at Cordera for a bit of locally made knitwear and then dinner at Charrúa Coruña.

Thursday, A Coruña and Zürich via Madrid. For a region that boasts big retail, big shipbuilding and plenty of manufacturing, Galicia is not particularly well connected with few direct flights to the rest of Europe (forget about the world) and most traffic having to connect via Madrid. Given the region’s wealth, not to mention its fine food and wine, isn’t Galicia due its own exquisitely designed regional airline? I know just the person who would love to work on it.

Friday, Zürich. The final Christmas touches were being hung, strung and applied at our Zürich outpost and our just-launched outdoor felt capes were being put to good use by customers who wanted to keep the chill at bay. At 20.00 sharp the birthday celebration kicked off at the Charlatan, a newish supper club that features in the winter edition of Konfekt and brings back that perfect combo of dining and the possibility of a civilised night of dancing. Or not.

Saturday, Zürich. I’m happy to report that I’m now feeling much better than when I started writing this 60 minutes ago. So it’s time to announce the winners of the competition but, before that, an observation. Many readers have clearly not been out in the big wide world lately or never order room service as they have no concept of what things cost. The number of people who suggested that $15 (€14.40) would get a cappuccino and freshly squeezed orange juice to your Miami Beach hotel room was something of a surprise. To be clear, this experience was three weeks ago, not three decades. The bill I was presented with was $34.20 (€32.80) – delivery, tax and service charge included. That means we have a few winners out of more than 400 responses. Congratulations to Craig (Raleigh), Kathleen (Portland), Stuart (Gothenburg), Dragos (Basel), Michel-Pierre (London), Jorge (Toronto), Brian (Charleston), Caroline (London), Craig (Munich), Christie (Edinburgh), Richard (Les Houches) and Emil (Lima) for coming within a dollar of the amount on the tab. All winners will receive a copy of The Monocle Book of Photography and will be contacted by my office for shipping details. Looking forward to seeing many of you at our Zürich Christmas market next weekend!

Top of the shops / Pinwheel Shop, Tallinn

Worth a spin

Few other cities can match the crisp, wintry and festive feel of the Estonian capital and its chocolate-box Old Town. It’s also a place with a rich craft heritage and plenty of excellent places to seek out stocking fillers. Pinwheel Shop in the Kalamaja district stocks an excellent selection of toys that are built to last. Its owner, Kristina Namavire (pictured), sources them from small toy-makers around the world and many are not only fun but also educational. We recommend something from the Japanese brand Kiko + GG or France’s Moulin Roty. “There’s a story behind every toy that I sell,” says Namavire. “I do this out of passion and love for children.”

Subscribe to Monocle now to be sure to receive the forthcoming December/January bumper double issue. Inside you will find Christmas shopping guides to five of our favourite festive cities.

Regime / Hibernicis

Celtic cleanse

Catherine Logue spent 30 years in the cosmetics industry before making a clean break and turning her hand to a new beauty brand. Inspired by Irish ingredients and history, Hibernicis’s fresh new range – shower gel, lotion, serum, hand cream and an exfoliant – mingles the scents and botanicals of Connemara and the Atlantic coast with punchy aromas including mandarin, lavender and geranium. Every product contains seaweed extracts and comes in smart, monochromatic packaging that riffs on the medieval Irish script ogham and uses typographic touches that nod to the native Irish language. Boxing clever, if you will.

Image: Tony Hay

Sunday Roast / Luke Farrell

Sweet serendipity

Chef Luke Farrell trained at the Salt Yard group in London before taking off to hone his culinary skills in Thailand and founding Plaza Khao Gaeng. Today he divides his time between London, a Dorset farm and Bangkok, where he goes on research trips. His latest restaurant, Speedboat Bar in London’s Chinatown, opened in 2022. Here he shares a bad habit, a penchant for cycling and a love of Chiang Mai’s old bookshops.

Where do we find you this weekend?
I’m in Bangkok, where I’m packing goods that I’ve picked up in Chinatown for my return to the UK. It’s generally a mix of bulky cooking equipment, curry pastes and knives for my chefs.

What’s your ideal way to begin a Sunday – a gentle start or a jolt?
A jolt. I’ve got an unhealthy addiction to Thai “three-in-one” coffee, which is mainly sugar. A packet of that in boiling water and I’m raring to go.

What’s for breakfast?
Chicken rice at my neighbourhood spot in the Thai capital. The owner knows that I like it with a big bowl of soup and two chunks of winter melon.

Lunch in or out?
Out. I’ve been exploring Bang Krachao island by bicycle, so I work up an appetite. I usually snack on things like rice in bamboo or a bowl of boat noodles.

Walk the dog or downward dog?
I love running. There’s a great energy in Lumpini Park.

A Sunday soundtrack?
The noise of grinders and drills, I’m afraid. I’m fed up with telling the construction site nextdoor to shut up. It’s better for me to enjoy my Sundays out.

A Sunday culture must? A market, say, or a museum?
Both. I also have a passion for old bookshops. I was in Chiang Mai recently and reached for a book called Plants and People of the Golden Triangle: Ethnobotany of the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand. By coincidence, the author’s son was browsing there too.

News or not?
I always try to snag the latest copy of Private Eye. I’m also a big fan of Khaosod English.

What’s on the menu?
Something from Little Market Burgers. It’s a bit of a reset from Thai food and my Thai mates love their curly fries.

Your Sunday-evening routine?
Usually getting ahead on orders for my website where I sell cooking equipment. They get picked up on Monday morning.

Do you lay out an outfit for Monday?
I figured out a long time ago that with a stack of clean, blue shirts and chinos you can go – and get in – anywhere.

Recipe / Ralph Schelling

La specialina

This simple, spiced cocktail is an excellent winter warmer. A little fresh mace, made with the blossom of nutmeg, also goes a long way. Use large, spherical ice cubes that melt more slowly. Cin-cin!

Image: Lukas Lienhard

Serves 1

Ice cubes (large and spherical)
20ml oloroso sherry
1 pinch finely ground cardamom
10ml amaro
2 dashes Angostura bitters
100ml champagne
Orange zest, to garnish


Put an ice cube or two into a highball and add the sherry, cardamom, amaro and bitters.

Top with champagne and garnish with the orange zest. Serve.

Weekend Plans / Lausanne, Switzerland

The edgy Swiss sibling

Lausanne is perhaps as bohemian as a Swiss city can be, even if it retains the Helvetian obsession with cleanliness and punctuality. Often described as Geneva’s edgier sibling, it is home to several universities whose students give the nightlife a welcome buzz and offer fresh talent to businesses. A recent addition to Lausanne’s cultural scene is Plateforme 10, a campus that houses three cantonal museums, two arts foundations, bookshops and restaurants, near the city’s main train station.

Image: dreamstime

As temperatures climb in the summer, residents can cool off with a dip in Lake Geneva, followed by a crisp rosé from the nearby Lavaux vineyards. In the winter, they can warm themselves with mulled wine and fondue at one of the city’s idyllic markets. Shopping-wise there is Walpurgis for womenswear, Galerie Port Franc for vintage furniture and sportswear brand Mover for some chunky knits to keep you cosy in a cold snap.

For more on compact cities with plenty to offer, pick up the latest edition of ‘The Forecast’, on newsstands now.

Winter playlist / Fernando Augusto Pacheco

Ear warmers

Born in sunny São Paulo, Monocle’s senior culture correspondent (and our ear to the ground on all matters musical) Fernando Augusto Pacheco has whipped up a wintry playlist to help get our northern hemisphere readers through those crisp mornings with a few warming numbers and mellow melodies.

“Nell’Aria” by Marcella Bella
The Italian chanteuse’s epic song about never-ending desire.

“C’est une belle journée” by Mylène Farmer
A whispery gem delivered by the Canadian queen of pop.

“Baco Exu do Blues” by Lágrimas feat Gal Costa
The Brazilian icon sings softly about shedding tears for love.

“Another Weekend” by Ariel Pink
A calming, lo-fi number about wasting time.

“Charmed” by Stella
Classic songwriting from the Greek master of folksy pop.

“Mornings” by The Boy from the South
The Spanish singer’s gentle, optimistic ode to an early rise.

“Good Morning America” by Dancing Fantasy
Glossy German smooth jazz with invigorating synths.

“Hard Time Coming” by Damon Aaron
An easy, mellow start courtesy of the Californian songwriter.

“Entre toi pi moi pi la corde de bois” by Lisa LeBlanc
Up the tempo with this hypnotic Canadian tune.

Tune in to Monocle 24 for ‘The Global Countdown’ with Fernando Augusto Pacheco or head to Monocle’s Spotify for his toe-tapping series of winter playlists.

On the case / Three wines to buy

Stocking up

Monocle’s latest edition of ‘The Forecast’ includes some wise, warming recommendations by Swiss wine writer Chandra Kurt. Here we share three top bottles: a beautiful burgundy, a divine white speciality and a Portuguese number with punch.

Image: David Willen

Domaine Chandon de Briailles Ile des Vergelesses 2019
Burgundy is à la mode, de rigueur and drinking well. Prices and demand are rising steeply but, as a result of climate change, those time-tested aromatics are subtly shifting too. This biodynamic estate is a jewel and its wines are hearty expressions of this ancient soil.

Bourgogne Aligoté Sans Soufre 2020, Clos du Moulin aux Moines
The vineyards of Auxey-Duresses were planted by monks more than 1,000 years ago and there is still something divine about the place today. This charming Aligoté was biodynamically vinified without extra sulphur, an additive that is sometimes used in small quantities to prevent oxidation and spoilage. It makes for a refreshing white with a creamy undertone and notes of white peach, honey and lime.

Finca Valdeolmos 2017, Goyo Garcia Viadero, Ribera del Duero
Spain’s high-altitude wines are not to be sniffed at and this organic masterpiece comes courtesy of ancient vines in the Ribera del Duero. Goyo Garcia Viadero farms without adding chemicals and he is inspired by the philosophy and history of the hardy mountain wine-makers in the Jura region of France. This red isn’t polished in the conventional sense; instead, it is a rather untamed, wild and wonderful experience.


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