Sunday 16 July 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 16/7/2023

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Time to explore

Ready to roll? We start by welcoming an exciting new voice to Monocle Radio before settling in at beautiful new Palazzo Luce in Puglia. We also visit a revamped classic for seafood in Stockholm and rustle up a zingy starter of grilled summer vegetables and whipped feta. Plus: meet the entrepreneur who went to Austria and stayed to start a hotel. But first, Tyler Brûlé starts us off with a clean sweep of city spaces.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Skimming the surface

Let’s kick things off today by taking a look at a typical weekend. My Sunday usually goes something like this: I wake up around 7.30 and by the time I have checked out what has happened since I passed out on the couch, I’m served a perfect little flat white, blood orange juice and a tiny bowl of an improved version of the Bircher muesli recipe from the Buchinger Wilhelmi Klinik. Once I have scanned the Wall Street Journal, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Le Figaro, Blick, The Sunday Times and Bangkok Post, I’m in correspondence with my colleagues, Emma Nelson and Désirée Bandli, who oversee the output of Monocle on Sunday – the radio show that I host for 75 per cent of the year. In the warmer months, I swim in the lake for a few laps and get in the car by 9.15 for a 9.22 arrival at our offices. This is, however, a slight fantasy as I’m usually in the car by 9.35 and standing ready at the mic at 9.47 to pre-record the top of our show.

Things took a slight turn last weekend. I arrived reasonably early but was confronted by a few dim-faced colleagues who pointed me in the direction of our café tables and the “tagging” that had occurred at some point in the early hours. You will be well aware that I have little patience for graffiti in any form, so I was fit to be tied when I saw that our lovely beige metal tabletops had been scrawled with the letters FCZ (Football Club Zürich) and other mindless scribbles in fat, black paint markers. My colleague, Guy, had already attempted a rescue effort but it to little avail. “We can thank the Züri Fäscht,” he said, blaming the vandalism on the city’s rather undefined, freeform, once-every-three-years street festival. Switzerland and Zürich get many public order things right but coming up with preventative and clean-up measures for the defacing of public and private space is not one of them. If you’re part of the management team for the FCZ or city of Zürich, I’m sending you an invoice for the clean-up for our tables. As a football club, you might want to focus on winning more games and spending your profits on cleaning up after a certain faction of your fans who think that behaving disrespectfully is somehow acceptable. As a city, Zürich is at a “broken window” tipping point – there is too much concrete and wall space dominated by graffiti, which invites anti-social behaviour. It’s very simple. Dealing with graffiti (prosecuting the sprayers and cleaning up surfaces swiftly) is a powerful symbol that says such antics will not be tolerated and have no place in a civil society. If you live in a city suffering from similar issues, you might want to turn to page 30 in our July/August issue to read about how Clean & Art in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward tackles assaulted walls. Zürich take note.

Speaking of unsightly surfaces, I have a question. I’m at my local bathing club right now and it seems that there has been an increase in tattooing on the backs of biceps. Am I right? And if so, why? Like graffiti, I’m not a fan of tattoos and I’m wondering what the motivation is for choosing this particular surface? Is it because it’s easy to cover up but still allows for a feeling of edginess? Or is it because the owner will rarely have to look at it and will forget about the inking until their upper arm gets saggy and the mandala applied in 2020 turns into a lasagna in 2040? The odd tattoo gently placed on the very tanned forearm of a sailor in the French navy can work but beyond that, it’s tricky. The good news is that there will soon be so much cultural appropriation guilt and legislation around using Maori symbols and Chinese characters inappropriately that it’s time to start investing big in tattoo removal equipment.

As we’re on to a bit of a theme with surfaces, do you prefer yours sharp and angular or fluid and curvy? I’m talking about cars by the way. For the past few years, I have been thinking about getting myself an old-school but technically up-to-date Toyota Land Cruiser. There has, however, been a household discussion about the desired model being diesel, which is not quite fit for the future. While the fate of four-wheel power is another discussion for another Sunday, I’m happy to see that Toyota is going for all of the right angles with their next-gen Land Cruiser that comes in more of a mid-sized Prado scale. The press team at Toyota are doing a good job of keeping fans of boxiness keen with the odd dribble of info about the soon-to-be-released wheels. The new Lexus GX550 is supposedly an indicator of the shape of things to come but a little bird at Toyota HQ tells me that it’s best to wait for the real deal. Small question: Will it hit in time for next summer’s mega Med roadtrip?

House news / Monocle Radio

Magic mic

Keen listeners to Monocle Radio this week might have noticed a new but familiar voice broadcasting from Studio 1 at Midori House on The Monocle Daily. Nina dos Santos brings to the show a wealth of experience from her time as a network news anchor, business editor and international correspondent at CNN. She has also reported for Sky News, NBC News and Bloomberg Television, and her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal and multiple other European newspapers and magazines.

“I love Monocle Radio’s ability to bring insight and perspective to the day’s stories from a very broad, international point of view,” says Dos Santos. “I first joined the station’s shows as a guest. It’s a joy to be sitting in the presenter’s chair now, leading thought-provoking discussions with such knowledgeable people.”

You can hear Dos Santos – and our other award-winning editors and presenters – across our live news schedule. Tune in to Monocle Radio now to be part of the smartest global conversation.

Eating out / Sturehof, Stockholm

Old ways

After six years of renovations, Sturehof, founded in 1887, has reopened at its original address on Stureplan 2 in central Stockholm, albeit a few metres away from its previous location (writes Jonna Dagliden Hunt). The restaurant, which is spread out over two floors, now seats 400 guests with a further 150 covers to come when the “old” part reopens in 2026. The space remains faithful to the classic interior that architect Jonas Bohlin envisioned in 1995, with careful updates by Stockholm practice Dinelljohansson. Expect white tablecloths, oak panelling, terrazzo floors, a brass-and-glass ceiling and black leather seating. There’s a library-style dining room upstairs where books not only add to the atmosphere but are also available to buy. Downstairs, there’s a snug 16-cover bar.

Image: Felix Odell
Image: Felix Odell

Seafood is still the restaurant’s speciality; when Monocle visits, we sample radishes grown in the kitchen’s farm at Ulriksdal in northern Stockholm, served with sour cream and crayfish from Smögen on the west coast. Classics such as turbot with butter sauce or fresh Baltic herring caught by Sturehof’s own fishing boat on the Roslagen archipelago are never far away. Occasionally, game hunted by the founder, PG Nilsson (whose restaurant group is an investor in Monocle), appears on chef Michael Larsson’s always-pleasing menu. The site might have been spruced up but Sturehof’s recipe for success hasn’t changed.

Image: Amelie Niederbuchner

Sunday roast / Barbara Elwardt

Moving mountains

Berlin-based Barbara Elwardt went from skiing in the Austrian Alps to founding a modernist hotel in the village of Bad Gastein. The Comodo, which opened earlier this year in a former health clinic, is bringing new visitors to the old spa town. Here, she shares her favourite natural wine, marvels at marmalade and takes us through the best Berlin bakeries.

Where will we find you this weekend?
In Bad Gastein in our new hotel, The Comodo. I’m meeting my family there.

What is your ideal start to a Sunday, gentle or a jolt?
I don’t like to sleep in for too long. Depending on where I am, I start by taking my bike to one of the superb bakeries around us in Berlin.

Downward dog or walk the dog?
No yoga but I do like rowing – not that I do that on Sundays!

What’s for breakfast?
Good bread and eggs. And an Americano, please.

A pantry essential?
Orange marmalade and cream cheese (not necessarily together).

What’s on the Sunday menu?
Depends on the season.

Who will join you for lunch?
My husband and my two children.

A glass of something you recommend?
Heinrich Graue Freyheit – currently my favourite natural wine.

A Sunday evening routine?
Field hockey is a must when I’m in Berlin. I love the training and my team.

Your soundtrack of choice?
“Agitations tropicales” by L'Impératrice.

News or no news?
No news on a Sunday. That can wait until Monday morning.

Will you lay out your outfit for Monday?
I always decide in the morning by checking my calendar and the weather.

Recipe / Aya Nishimura

Whipped feta with roasted vegetables

Our Japanese recipe writer’s simple starter is fresh and delicious. We’ve suggested a few vegetables to get you started but you can also use aubergines, padrón peppers and cherry tomatoes. Some grilled flatbread wouldn’t go amiss either.

Serves 2-4 as a starter


100g feta cheese
2 tbsps Greek yoghurt
½ small garlic clove
3 tbsps olive oil
10 toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Large pinch of chilli flakes (Aleppo pepper works well)

1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
1 courgette, roughly chopped


Turn on your grill to the highest setting.

Mix the sliced vegetables and 2 tbsps olive oil together and arrange on the grill. Season with salt and pepper. Grill for 10-12 minutes on each side (you can also use a griddle pan).

Put the feta cheese, Greek yoghurt and garlic in a blender and blend until very smooth.

Place the whipped feta mixture in a shallow bowl and keep in the fridge until needed.

Just before serving, drizzle the whipped feta with 1 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios, toasted sesame seeds and chilli flakes. Serve with the grilled vegetables.

Weekend plans? / Palazzo Luce, Lecce

Out of the past

“I wasn’t looking to buy a palazzo,” says Anna Maria Enselmi, founder of Palazzo Luce in the city of Lecce in Puglia (writes Laura Rysman). “Someone brought me to see this place and I fell in love.” Enselmi decided to transform this 14th-century palace of an aristocratic family into a hotel and a space to house her collection of art and design. Alongside Nina Yashar, the design-world taste-maker behind Milan’s Nilufar Gallery, Enselmi enlisted the help of gallerists Lia Rumma and Rossella Colombari, and a network of Italian talents including Storage Milano, Giuliano Andrea Dell’Uva Architetti and Martino Gamper to decorate the space. Gamper contributed various custom pieces and worked on the hotel’s bar, finished with fragments of green and white linoleum. Guests will spot furnishings from Carlo Mollino, Franco Albini, Luigi Caccia Dominioni, Osvaldo Borsani and Ettore Sottsass, as well as photos by Marina Abramovic and Vanessa Beecroft. There’s also a vast rug by Joseph Kosuth covering the music room.

Image: James Mollison
Image: James Mollison

Enselmi’s love of all things Gio Ponti is evident in the hotel’s headboards, shelves, yellow floor tiles, Superleggera chairs and pink-and-green porcelain toilets with matching bathroom fixtures. Eyeing a lacquered wooden table by Ponti, she says, “I hope that no one ever puts a hot cup on here. But I think guests will respect the specialness of the place.”

Her concern is understandable. Palazzo Luce is not like other hotels that are made to withstand the wear and tear of strangers. It’s a temple to Enselmi’s passions that she entrusts, rather than rents, to visitors. Enselmi, who is of Pugliese descent and lives in Milan, explains that it was her “philosophy to maintain as much of what remained here as possible”: fishbone cotto floors, majolica tiles, carved wooden doors painted with dainty flowers and other remnants of the building’s 700 years of life. “I wanted a space for contemporary art and design but with a soul and a past – a place specific to Puglia that could never exist in New York or London.” What better place to rest for the night?

For our full Puglia roadtrip, pick up a copy of our July/August issue of Monocle.

Neighbourhood business / Summerhill Market

Cornering the market

In this summer series celebrating Monocle’s Quality of Life-themed issue, which is out now, we profile businesses that are helping to bind their communities together. Here we visit a welcoming boutique supermarket that has kept Torontonians stocked up with high-quality food and drink for almost 70 years.

When Monocle visits Toronto’s busy Summerhill Market, the late-morning rush has just begun (writes Tomos Lewis). Established in 1954 by grocer Frank McMullen, the family-owned group of boutique supermarkets has earned a reputation for quality produce. Now run by the founder’s grandchildren, Brad and Christy McMullen, who have opened four additional shops in similarly upscale districts, the business continues to thrive.

Image: Ian Patterson
Image: Ian Patterson

“The service and quality of the food are phenomenal here,” says customer Gail Zee, as she makes her way to the checkout past shelves heaped with fresh loaves of bread. These, along with the grocery’s popular range of meals, cakes, desserts, biscuits and condiments, are prepared daily at Summerhill Market’s own commissary. The brand’s reputation is anchored to both the quality of its produce and the intimacy of the service that it offers – characteristics that are more difficult to maintain at national, big-box supermarket chains. “I like the way it’s small and easy to get around, and I know where everything is,” says another shopper, Barbara Lacey. “The prices are higher but you get good produce so it’s worth it.”

Parting shot / Monocle’s perfect city

Fantasy life

As part of our series celebrating our out-now July /August issue of Monocle we’re sharing some suggestions on what makes a city tick, swing and sing (writes Josh Fehnert). Of course we’re interested in safer streets, good healthcare and education but what about some spaces for fun, letting nature take hold and making room for pedestrians. Here are some thoughts on upgrading urban life in Monocle’s for-now-imagined perfect city.

Make space to revel
Cities aren’t quite silent yet but quieter electric cars, tighter construction rules and snitty neighbours have conspired to make them more sombre than ever before. This lull in the urban din has, in turn, made residents even less tolerant of bars or clubs with the temerity to ply a later trade. That’s a bad road. In our ideal city, there are still spaces for ateliers where people clatter and make things – and we’re encouraging a buoyant, boisterous night-time economy. That means leaving spaces for people to clink glasses outside, having rooftops to party on and protecting businesses that moved in before the moaning neighbours. Staying up until sunrise occasionally is a pleasure of city life. If you’re so against that, you might prefer it in a village.

Give way
Compromise is a two-way street and Monocle’s perfect city embraces many ways to travel. Yes, there are leafy streets with ample and well-kept pavements for pedestrians but also lanes for cycling and space for cars (to drive and park in) and buses too. Crucially there’s an onus on getting along. That starts with cycling proficiency at a young age. Motorists – imagine this – give way willingly. Buses and trams only really take the main roads, and the city has an unhurried air. The order is kept by steeper fines for speeders and badly behaved cyclists, plus traffic lights that change slowly, enabling dodderers and families to cross safely. We’re taking some cues from Tokyo’s Tomigaya. Oh, and people here are engaged, aware and able to tear their gaze away from their phones long enough to identify a ball bouncing near a road or a light turning amber.

Let it grow
Parks are vital but how about letting verges, roundabouts and the fringes of railway lines grow thick with nature too? Our city doesn’t preen or manicure every inch of nature and knows that such a policy is better for biodiversity than “green walls” that need endless watering before they curl, brown and die (here’s looking at you Perth). Won’t ivy or a few well-adapted wildflowers do? We’ve also looked to see where we can bring nature into existing structures, from bird bricks, in which our feathered friends can nest, to community allotments with cabins where it’s agreeable to while away a sunny day (the Danes do this enviably).

For more of Monocle’s perfect city, buy the July/August issue and enjoy the full report, our annual Quality of Life Survey and plenty of summery suggestions.


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