Sunday 23 July 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 23/7/2023

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Best of all worlds

As many in southern Europe look to beat the heat, our editorial team is on hand with plenty of Sunday refreshments. First up, Tyler Brûlé breezes in with a fresh take on Barbie and Monocle welcomes a new book to its stable all about the joys of swimming. We also try a Helsinki bistro with the makings of a future classic, share a cake recipe from Capri and stock up at a neighbourhood bottle shop in Melbourne that we’d be happy to relocate for. So whether you’re heading beachward or plotting a summer escape to come, let us be your guide.

The faster lane / Tyler Brûlé

Dolled up

As far as temporary cultural urban interventions go, it’s hard to beat a night at the Allianz Cinema along the shores of Lake Zürich. When it comes to an exercise in branding and advertising, I can’t think of money better spent by a company to create both a seasonal sense of occasion and community. If you have not experienced the Zürich version of Allianz’s cinema installation, it’s not only a serious feat in engineering (it’s only up for a few weeks) but also everything you could want from a summer evening. Picture a lakeside venue that rises from the shore and is surrounded by terraces at various levels for drinking and dining. Above the projection booth, there’s an enormous platform for VIPs and close friends of Allianz where the champagne and wine flow, tasty bites are offered before the show and tall fridges are stocked with beer and various beverages that are free for the taking. In the background, the snowy peaks of the Alps are a soft pink as the sun starts to set while in the middle distance, there are splashes of dusty rose and hot flashes of fuchsia worn by attendees looking for their seats. In the row in front of us, some girls in their early 20s have gently tinted their locks in a colour that’s likely called Napa rosé on the bottle. Yes, dear reader, we’re not only enjoying a gorgeous, high-summer evening in Switzerland – it’s also the opening night of Barbie! In case you haven’t seen it yet, I have some observations and also a few questions:

First question, when was the last time you went to the cinema? Second question, when was the last time you went to a cinema where the attendees made a conscious effort to get into the spirit of the film? Rocky Horror Picture Show and Sing-a-Long a Sound of Music aside, I can’t recall such a movie-going moment in recent history. Top marks to the marketing machines at Warner Bros and Mattel for rallying people to get out of their streaming comas and out to the cinema.

I managed to avoid reading all the pre-press and reviews so I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into. 48 hours later, I’m still trying to decode the film. Is it a cultural marker? Was it trying to do too much? Should I watch it a second time? Would I recommend it to others? Maybe even readers of this column? Keep reading.

If you’re fatigued by Hollywood’s ongoing diversity and inclusion push then you’ll find parts of the film annoying and rather forced. Is some of it attempting to be ironic while still covering all bases of political correctness? Debatable. I have been left wondering if Barbie will be remembered as a unique summer 2023 production as a result of trying to force too many uniquely American political and identity themes onto a global audience.

On the topic of diversity, here’s a fun fact. The three male leads from ‘Barbieland’ are all Canadian.

Add Margot Robbie to the mix and you suddenly have a Commonwealth powerhouse that should make a very strong case for why the Games should go on. If Australia doesn’t host them then another nation should pick up the honour. Canada? Your turn again? It has been a while.

There’s not as much product placement as you might expect from a film that has grown from a product range built on conspicuous consumption. Birkenstock gets a few close-ups and laughs and Chanel manages to shine in all the right places but I was left wondering why the Barbie franchise hadn’t upgraded from General Motors when it came to four-wheel transport.

Warner Bros and Mattel should be applauded for refraining from glorifying the use of firearms. Moreover, there should be a special Oscar handed out for not promoting tattoos to people too young to know better. I don’t recall seeing any inked biceps, necks or thighs.

The Dua Lipa dance routine is worth mastering in time for the company Christmas party. Book a recital hall, gather your work colleagues and start practicing.

Go see it. It’s not as silly as it could have been. There could have been a few more belly laughs but, as we know, it’s hard to be funny these days. Nevertheless, it’s ambitious, optimistic and just might make you go blonde for a few weeks this summer.

House news / 'Swim & Sun: A Monocle Guide'

Dive in

In Monocle’s new book, Swim & Sun, you will find our pick of the places in which to cool off when the mercury rises and plenty to get you dreaming about your next dip. Our handsome hardback celebrates the joys of diving into the ocean, leaping into a river and allowing your limbs to stretch – and your mind to clear – as you simply swim.

Image: Tony Hay
Image: Tony Hay

There are plenty of sunny pleasures on offer at our favourite beach clubs, urban pools and lakeside bathing spots. Come on in, the water’s perfect.

Buy your copy of ‘Swim & Sun: A Monocle Guide’ on our online shop today.

Eating out / Elm, Helsinki

Culture collision

Located in a meticulously restored 19th-century wooden villa in the leafy Kaivopuisto park, Elm is the latest venture by restaurateurs Albert Franch Sunyer, Luka Balac and Carlos Henriques (writes Petri Burtsoff). The place draws on the trio’s vast experience in Spain, Serbia, and Portugal and adds a Mediterranean twist to Helsinki’s eclectic restaurant scene.

Image: Mint & More Creative / Esa Kapila / Elm
Image: Mint & More Creative / Esa Kapila / Elm

Dishes such as grilled octopus with molho verde, escalivada (Catalan roasted vegetables) and milho frito (fried cornmeal) are available to order. “We are a multicultural and friendly neighbourhood bistro that exudes a laid-back vibe,” Balac tells Monocle as we sample wines from North Macedonia on the restaurant’s sunny veranda. It’s no surprise that Elm has become an instant classic.

Sunday Roast / Alexia Karides

Food for thought

Alexia Karides is the co-founder and creative director of jewellery brand Ysso. Based between Greece and the UK, Ysso is gaining a reputation for its unique, whimsical designs – all of which are made in a foundry near Athens. Here, Karides tells us about her holiday in the Cyclades, Crete’s take on gruyère and the secret ingredient she always adds to her salads.

Where will we find you this weekend?
I’ll be in Ios in the Cyclades.

What is your ideal start to a Sunday, gentle or a jolt?
Gentle – whether I’m in London or Athens, I love going for an easy brunch followed by a walk.

Downward dog or walk the dog?
Downward dog. I love yoga.

What’s for breakfast?
Breakfast is super important to me – a favourite of mine is smoked turkey and Cretan gruyère on toasted bread.

A pantry essential?
Paximadia – crunchy barley rusks that you can add to any salad. I always bring them back from Greece or buy them here in London.

A Sunday culture must?
The Tate Modern shop is like a library and a great place to find new and interesting books. Galleries are also a must – I loved the recent Paper exhibition at the Tristan Hoare Gallery, which was an exploration of the material through history.

What’s on the evening menu?
Vegetables and roast chicken – something easy and light.

Who will join?
My boyfriend, Theodore, and my cat Jimmy.

A glass of something you recommend?
Agiorgitiko red wine.

Your soundtrack of choice?
I have recently become obsessed with a band called Kerala Dust.

News or no news?
News. I always want to know what’s happening.

Will you lay out your outfit for Monday?
No, I never like to plan outfits. I prefer to decide on the spot how I feel.

Recipe / Ralph Schelling

Caprese cake

As the name suggests, this cake is said to have originated on the island of Capri but some Italians claim that the recipe was invented after the cook forgot to buy flour. “I can imagine this happening,” says Swiss chef Ralph Schelling. “I have often forgotten to buy ingredients after having too many spritzes or bellinis on Capri.” Enjoy.

Image: Xiha


200g butter
200g chocolate (60 to 70 per cent cocoa content)
150g caster sugar (reserving 2 tsps for later)
250g ground almonds
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
Icing sugar for dusting


Preheat your oven to 190C. Line the bottom of a 25cm springform pan with baking paper.

Break the chocolate into small pieces. Add the chocolate and butter to a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Once melted, leave the mixture to cool.

Separate the yolks and whites of the eggs and set the whites aside. In a large bowl, beat the yolks and sugar together (reserving 2 tsps of the sugar) until foamy. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and almonds to the bowl.

Beat the egg whites together with the salt and the remaining 2 tsps of sugar until stiff. Fold into the chocolate mixture.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes. The cake should still be slightly moist inside.

Let the cake cool completely before removing from the pan.

Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Sunday report / Chicago

Stepping up to the plate

From the correct way to cook carbonara to what ingredients are allowed to go on pizza, it’s common knowledge that Italians are serious about their food (writes Lucrezia Motta). Genoans are no exception. In April, the city authorities seized more than 7,000kg of Giovanni Rana pesto at the city’s port after officials found that its labels did not conform to EU regulations.

Genoan basil pesto, when it has a DOP label, must come from the region – and the pasta sauce in question had been produced more than 7,000km away in a suburb of Chicago. It is, of course, not the first time that food has caused problems at international borders. Belgian authorities recently destroyed more than 2,000 cans of Miller High Life because of its slogan (the American brand famously markets itself as “the champagne of beers”) and France is still contesting a US judge’s decision that states that “gruyère” can refer to any type of cheese. Politics aside, there’s a reason why parents tell their children not to play with their dinner. Food, it turns out, is no laughing matter.

Good neighbours / Public wine shop, Melbourne

Through the grapevine

Serving some 300 cuvées – including European grapes from France, Germany and Austria as well as Australian producers – Melbourne’s Public Wine Shop is a neighbourhood favourite in the trendy suburb of North Fitzroy. “We could have 10 times the amount of Loire Valley chenin blanc here and it still wouldn’t be enough,” says Campbell Burton, who founded the shop with his wife, Charlotte Ryan, in 2020.

Image: Sarah Pannell
Image: Sarah Pannell

Drawing on alfresco dining culture, Public has breezy outdoor tables popular with customers seeking respite from the summer heat. In the kitchen, chef Ali Currey-Voumard prepares hearty pastas, plates of charcuterie and oysters. “We have a lot of regulars who come a couple of times a week,” says Burton. “That’s the biggest compliment we could possibly get.”

Image: Satoshi Hashimoto

Parting shot / Monocle’s perfect city

Ideal world

In the latest instalment of our series celebrating the elements that make cities hum, we’re suggesting some civility on the saddle, ditching the scooter and investing in social capital (writes Josh Fehnert). Read on for some suggestions about how to keep busy streets moving smoothly and how cities can deliver better.

Scooting off
There’s something important that we didn’t mention about getting about. Yes, we’re talking to you in the suit and you in the Lycra with your headphones on. Zipping around on e-scooters, unicycles or skateboards is, we can confirm, a bad look if you’re over the age of 10. As such, we’ve outlawed anything similar and severely limited the providers that operate in the city. Ride hailing is allowed but most prefer our taxis. We’ve even developed technology that traces the rental bikes we use so that they don’t “accidentally” end up in a canal, blocking doorways or strewn across pavements. Let’s take responsibility for the pile-up.

Take pride
Sometimes social capital can pay dividends in unexpected ways. Our city council is fastidious about planting shapely, mature trees and keeping their leaves from blocking drains in autumn. We run a world-beating recycling system and address residents’ and businesses’ concerns on the day that they’re lodged. In exchange, people feel vindicated in taking some responsibility for the spaces around their homes, in their neighbourhoods and near their workplaces. Our city takes pride in the impressions it makes on visitors, long-term neighbours and new residents.

Time to deliver
Keeping the high street healthy means stopping cities from being turned into a series of warehouses frequented by couriers and postal vans. We’re all for the convenience of quick deliveries but we’ve also decided to level the playing field and levy a tax on companies that don’t have a proper retail footprint. With any luck, other cities will follow. The effect is twofold: fewer delivery trucks clogging the streets and a higher incentive for those businesses to take proper retail spaces and enrich the life of the city rather than speeding past it in a blur of cardboard boxes. That’s how a city can really deliver.

For more of Monocle’s top tips for city life and our Quality of Life special, buy a copy of our July/August issue or subscribe today. Oh, and have a super Sunday.


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