Sunday 30 July 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 30/7/2023

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

On the move

With just five weeks to go until the Monocle Quality of Life Conference in Munich, we’re busy perusing the proofs and perfecting the line-up for the next get-up-and-go September issue of the magazine. But we’ve still found time to visit new openings from a beautiful Berlin bistro to a one-off Oaxaca hotel. Plus: word from a new Porto guest house, a crowd-pleasing soup with plenty of pecorino and a neighbourhood mainstay in Tokyo. First, Tyler Brûlé with an ode to the editorial and the latest titles to keep you company by the pool. Let’s get going.

The Faster lane / Tyler Brûlé

Turn the page

You know that glossy publishing has reached something that looks and feels like rock bottom when a magazine that you used to savour for its cool elegance, sharp editing and glacial take on the world opens up its summer issue with a series of single-page stories featuring crappily arranged soft furnishings and nick-nacks inspired by Wes Anderson films. Never mind that the whole thing was so badly rendered that I wanted to hurl the issue across the cabin of the Airbus but quickly realised that the issue was so thin and flimsy that it wouldn't have had much of a dramatic effect denting a bulkhead or scarring a fellow passenger.

The real crime is that this “idea” somehow passed a story meeting or approval process. Or did it? This magazine and its parent company were once renowned for having editors who not only knew their game but were journalistic and styled brands in their own right. Today they have heads of editorial content. Yuck! What was wrong with the term editor? Did someone on the company’s feelings and purpose committee deem the job of editing to be too dictatorial? Too exclusive? Too golden age of magazines? If so, they not only succeeded in killing off a group of loved titles but also a very specific job that many might still aspire to fill one day because no one wants to grow up to be a head of editorial content. What does that even mean? Wait! I have flipped back to the offending story and figured out exactly what it’s supposed to stand for. The feelings and purpose department installed someone who has zero point of view or design experience who, in turn, hired someone with even less experience to be a content generator for the front of said magazine. Deep down the head of content must surely know that the Wes Anderson story concept is absolute rubbish and would fail at any journalism school. But because he’s not an editor and dares not offer guidance for fear he might hurt someone’s feelings, he allows a completely subpar story to hit the press and ambush readers who deserve far, far better.

As we’re in high lounger, spritz and magazine season, it’s sad that there’s such a glaring lack of escapism from media houses that once were part of the pool and beachside scene at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Schloss Elmau, Marbella Club and more. As it’s a Sunday morning and you might be heading to secure you place in the sun shortly, I can recommend the following for a bit of architectural and culinary escapism.

  • Sablos from Spain is a new title from the former Monocle editor, Saul Taylor.

  • Manera is another title from Spain with super interiors and a strong sense of place.

  • Regain always makes me think about what life might be like as a carpenter or pickle producer in Brittany.

  • Die Zeit’s culinary spin-off, Wochenmarkt, is full of excellent recipes backed by excellent photography.

  • Beau is a new-ish French magazine in a compact format with an easy yet tight take on lifestyle and design.

And from the middle of this week, Monocle’s summer newspaper, Mediterraneo, will hit newsstands in Europe’s top resorts. Happy reading.

House news / Quality of Life Conference, Munich

Great minds

Join the Monocle team and some of the world’s best and brightest leaders in Munich this summer for our most ambitious Monocle Quality of Life Conference yet.

Steered by our editors, the three days of panel discussions include insights from the CEO of Allianz, a manifesto from New York’s first-ever chief public realm officer and a message from the man in the cockpit for German flag carrier Lufthansa.

Delegates can expect a briefing from a geopolitical strategist on the risks ahead for nations, businesses and brands, and a discussion from the CEO of Mytheresa on luxury retail and the future of bricks-and-mortar shops. We also hear from the UN’s chief heat officer, head of the Munich Security Conference and a creative director on why wit and wisdom still work wonders in advertising.

Join 200 delegates and 20 industry-leading speakers for three days of conversation that could just change the way you run your business, lead your life and see the world.
Secure your tickets today.

Eating out / Bistro Bostich, Berlin

Timeless classic

Bostich opened in late spring but feels as though it has been a part of Berlin’s Wilmersdorf for ever (writes Myriam Zumbühl). Swiss-born restaurateurs Simon Bühler and Yllnora Semsedini wanted to create a place in which diners would linger. “The bistro is a place to unwind with friends and with food that everyone enjoys,” Bühler tells The Monocle Weekend Edition. For Bostich that means fresh oysters and prawn cocktails as well as unpretentious but high-end classics such as buttery Vichy-style carrots, mashed potatoes and the creamy Zürcher Geschnetzeltes veal dish that has quickly become a favourite.

Other highlights include the restaurant’s tender lobster roll, truffle risotto and crêpe suzette, which is flambéed at the table by chef Sarah Fillet. And there’s a whiff of 1930s France to the interior decor: from the Maison Jansen palm-tree lamps to the stucco ceiling, red wicker chairs and round bistro tables.

New opening / The Largo, Porto

Cosying up

New rooms now complement Chef Nuno Mendes’s restaurant Cozinha Das Flores and bar Flôr in Porto (writes Sonia Zhuravlyova). The project involved the restoration of five interconnecting buildings, some dating back to the 15th century, while maintaining many of their original features. Space Copenhagen used aged stone and tarnished wood as starting points in the reconstruction and introduced plastered walls in earthy tones as well as blackened steel and darkened brass accents.

Meanwhile, Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza was commissioned to create a tiled mural to reflect the hustle and bustle of Porto’s streets. The wooden flooring, ornate ceilings and rustic walls bring a sense of warmth to the space and the generously sized beds, sofas and armchairs tempt guests to extend their stay for longer in one of the 18 guestrooms. Next door, bar Flôr serves small plates and a menu of sparky cocktails, while Cozinha Das Flores showcases the gastronomy of northern Portugal with Mendes’s signature generosity and flair.

Image: Monique Fiso

Sunday Roast / Monique Fiso

Simple pleasures

Monique Fiso is an award-winning chef and writer known for her use of ingredients from New Zealand and her creative twist on traditional Māori dishes (writes Tala Ahmadi). Here, she tells us about her Wellington restaurant, Hiakai, late-night walks and her love of Sundays.

Where will we find you this weekend?
Either foraging for ingredients or having a cold beer with friends. Ideally both.

Ideal Sunday? Gentle start or a jolt?
Gentle. Sundays are cherished by most people who work in hospitality.

Downward dog or walk the dog?
Currently neither but both are in my near future.

What’s for breakfast?
Sautéed mushrooms, hash browns, roast tomatoes and fried eggs. Sunday mornings mean cooked breakfasts.

A pantry essential?
Chilli flakes, salt and good-quality oil.

Lunch in or out?
In. I love to eat out but nothing beats home-cooked kai (food).

Any Sunday culture must?
I love the city’s vegetable markets and head to one every weekend. You can buy interesting and locally grown produce there that isn’t available anywhere else. I depend on those ingredients for the restaurant.

What’s on the evening menu?
I’m a big fan of a Sunday roast – pork with crispy crackling, apple sauce, potatoes, kūmara (sweet potato) and lashings of gravy.

Who will join?
My partner, Katie.

A glass of something you recommend?
The 2022 Selection Massale ‘Reserve Red’ Merlot Pinot Noir Tempranillo made with fruit that is sourced from various organic vineyards across New Zealand and Australia. It recently blew my socks off.

A Sunday evening routine?
Katie and I live by a beach in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington). We love to walk by the water at night.

Your soundtrack of choice?
Right now it’s Fred Again or King Princess.

News or no news?
No news is the real news. The 24/7 news cycle is a distraction soup of doom and gloom. It’s overwhelming and often doesn’t contribute to you being an informed citizen. It has the opposite effect in my opinion.

Will you lay out your outfit for Monday?
That’s a firm no from me.

Image: XIHA

Recipe / Ralph Schelling

Italian vegetable soup with pecorino

This week, Swiss chef Ralph Schelling shares a favourite summer soup that’s inspired by his travels around northern Italy. “Using seasonal vegetables is important,” he says. A squeeze of fresh lemon can help to lift the recipe, while the optional addition of pasta gives it some heft. “It also works to add fish or shellfish, which I poach lightly in the soup.” Enjoy.

Serves 4 as a main


2 medium carrots
150g waxy potatoes
2 stalks of celery, leaves removed
50g white cabbage
2 stalks chard (or a handful of kale)
1 small courgette
4 tbsps olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
3 tinned anchovies
1 peperoncino (dried chilli pepper)
1 sprig marjoram
2 tbsps tomato purée
3 large, fresh tomatoes (or 100g tinned)
750ml good vegetable stock
Handful of spinach
2 tbsps grated pecorino
Ground pepper


Peel the carrots and potatoes and dice them into small cubes. Cut the remaining vegetables into fine slices.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan then sauté the garlic, anchovies and pepperoncino for about a minute. Then add the marjoram and vegetables, and stir regularly over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they soften.

Add in the tomato purée, tomatoes and stock, and leave to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Stir in the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and sprinkle some pecorino on top.

Image: Sergio Lopez

Weekend plans? / Otro Oaxaca, Mexico

In the limelight

Oaxaca City may be the mezcal capital of Mexico but it is also revered for its distinctive natural light (writes Christopher Lord). “It’s what has kept me going back so many times,” says Carlos Couturier, co-founder of Grupo Habita, a collection of thoughtfully designed hotels dotted throughout Mexico, which has just opened Otro Oaxaca, its fourth outpost in the state.

The light brings a warm glow to Otro’s earthen red-brick courtyards and façade, restored by local architects RootStudio using materials from the surrounding valleys, while the underground spa is clad in limestone to evoke the cenotes (natural pools) that were sacred to the Mayans. On a pedestrianised street of small shops across from the city’s central cathedral, the hotel is a serene spot in a place that’s getting a lot of global attention. “We would like for our guests to live as locals,” says Couturier. “Whether it’s directing you to a particular street food or a hidden hot spring somewhere close to the city.”

Image: Satoshi Hashimoto

Parting shot / Perfect city

Street smart

Monocle’s perfect – if for now merely imagined – city is a place where common-sense rules (writes Josh Fehnert). This week we consider the merits of a stiff breeze, push for a polite but present police force and teach architects a lesson in investing in our collective future. Here are three fixes to help get urban planners thinking.

Bring in a breeze
Cities are simmering and noisy air-con units are adding pollution to the climate conundrum. Ways to fight back include more greenery, flowing water and bringing a breeze to buildings that would otherwise absorb the heat. Taking our cues from tropical architecture means encouraging a throughflow of air. How about adding Brazilian Cobogó bricks to let the cooling zephyr waft through? Capturing rainfall while considering humidity and where the sun hits makes homes more resilient, sustainable and comfortable.

Use the force
It’s not authoritarian to want to show some presence on the beat. Our perfect city’s immaculately turned-out police force would be a dab hand at directions, helping the elderly with their shopping and seeing to it that everyone feels secure and safe. Our bike-mounted boys and girls in blue cover ground quickly and their presence on saddles helps as a deterrent to the small amount of crime in our law-abiding city. Our city police aren’t portly, cherry-cheeked, out-of-puff volunteers when trouble emerges; all must pass a rigorous fitness exam to patrol the streets. Many of the team speak multiple languages but all are fluent in good manners and civility. Welcome to the neighbourhood.

Class dismissed
Our city has a rich history but we’re also keen to invest in its future. That begins with beautiful kindergartens and schools. It’s important that education doesn’t happen in packed portacabins by main roads and under strip-lighting. So much of schooling – and the lessons that stick with us in life – is about what we feel rather than what we’re told. In this respect, we might tap Spaniard Andrés Jaque of Madrid’s Reggio School or perhaps the Moroccan team behind Rabat’s Jacques Chirac School to help. That’s how to invest in spaces that excite as well as educate. There’s a lesson there.

For more of Monocle’s round-up of city fixes, urban benchmarks and the world’s most liveable cities, buy a copy of our July/August issue. Or subscribe to Monocle so that you never miss an issue. Have a super Sunday.


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