Sunday 10 September 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 10/9/2023

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Class of its own

There’s a back-to-school mood in the northern hemisphere and our editors have been hard at their hospitality homework. We raise a glass to a new Paris bar with plenty to recommend it before stopping at a well-branded Athenian sandwich shop for some sustenance and checking in to a new hotel in the forests of Finland. Plus: a tip for getting out there from the latest issue of the magazine and a reliable dumpling recipe. First up, Monocle’s headmaster Tyler Brûlé with a few lessons from the road.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Wheels in motion

It’s Saturday morning and Lisbon is a bit drizzly and muggy in that sultry subtropical way. The first flights of the day are roaring overhead and, as I try to catch them climbing through the low-passing clouds, I like to think of them heading to Porto Alegre, Luanda, Maputo and São Tomé. Despite the somewhat unbearable tourist boom and hen parties on tuk-tuks, Lisbon still feels like a bit of an outpost – gazing to the south and west, embracing the Atlantic and trying its best to ignore Spain and do its own thing. We have a couple of projects on the go here and while I feel that I know the city reasonably well, I know that my Lisbon is rather limited so I’m off for a bit of proper exploration and research. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

London, Paris, Zürich and Lisbon – those were the stops from the week that was. From Thursday it’s Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Madrid and Seville. Summer may not be over just yet and while I’m still hoping for a week of sun in the Med, the diary is rapidly filling up with exciting destinations, new to both me and my trusty travel agent. “Yes Jill, Shenzhen. Yes, really!” And, “No, no, you heard correctly Jill, Riyadh. Correct, KSA.” If you spend your time clattering away, booking your own flights and hotels, and are frustrated when flights are cancelled or delayed only to find yourself starting all over again, get yourself a Jill. It’s hard to beat the reassuring voice of someone who knows your travel preferences, has already rerouted you before you even knew that the connection would be missed and has proper relationships with airlines.

Do you know those signs at New York intersections that warn drivers “don’t block the box” in order to prevent gridlock? Smart airport and train station operators should do the same and hand out hefty fines to all the dopey groups, families and spaced-out individuals who think that it’s okay to repack their luggage at the bottom of the escalator, drink from their 5-litre sippy cups at the entrance to B gates or sit on the floor in the middle of a busy concourse. Are people becoming more unaware of the world around them in general? Less connected to the comings and goings around them? I’m convinced that the common-sense gene has all but disappeared from most of the population in the developed world.

As you might know, I’m very excited about the debut of Toyota’s all-new Land Cruiser and have already spent many an hour plotting out my summer 2024 roadtrip. The wheels have yet to be ordered but now Toyota has presented me with a fresh challenge. The brand has unveiled the latest addition to its Century line-up: a hefty SUV with a new construction and powertrain. The catch? It is only available on the Japanese market and is actively retailed as a chauffeur vehicle, which means adding an extra €75,000 to the already steep price tag.

Who decided that hotel rooms no longer need phones? And if they do have phones, they rarely work or feature a menu to ring your mom or colleague on the next floor. Do I want to order my breakfast off a tablet? Do you? And what happens if something goes wrong? Like the tub overflows or a pigeon flies into my suite and gets caught in the sheets? Am I supposed to find the bird icon on the backlit screen and then find the drop-down menu that shows a pigeon tangled in drapes? Good hotels have functioning bedside phones. Really good hotels have chirpy staff members at the other end who pick up within two rings.

Raising the bar / Cravan, Paris

Surreal space

Franck Audoux wanted the second location of his beloved bar, Cravan, to be a cultural treat (writes Lucrezia Motta). He found just the spot in a 17th-century building on Paris’s Boulevard Saint-Germain. Since its opening this summer, the Moët Hennessy-backed cocktail bar has become the talk of Paris’s hospitality scene. Belgian designer Ramy Fischler was brought in to reimagine its interiors and conceived the building as a dadaist collage in reference to Arthur Cravan, the surrealist poet after whom the venue is named. Comprising three bars, a bookshop and a rooftop mini-kiosk, Cravan is a well-thought-out addition to the literary history of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district in which it sits.

Image: Stephanie Fuessenich
Image: Stephanie Fuessenich
Image: Stephanie Fuessenich

The ground-floor bar pays homage to the belle époque style of the original Cravan, a red-fronted favourite in the 16th arrondissement. The first floor, however, offers 1970s- and 1980s-inspired décor: think a marble bar, metal finishes and mirrors. Head upstairs and you will find a Rizzoli bookshop where you can peruse Audoux’s book, French Moderne: Cocktails from the 1920s & 1930s, which will give you some inspiration before you venture to the fourth-floor bar. This cosy area has several small salons with fireplaces and is the most intimate of the building’s many spaces. The menus offer ambitious but classic fare and the drinks are uniformly excellent. Make ours a royal basilic, a champagne-based number made using Ruinart Brut with a hint of botanicals and basil. We’re celebrating after all.

Image: Sando

Eating out / Sando, Athens

Bread ahead

The Greek capital might be known for its historic tavernas but recent years have seen a series of pioneering young chefs making it their mission to broaden the Athenian palate (writes Hester Underhill). Among them is Yiannis Kandylidis, who helped to introduce poké to Greece with the opening of Poké Hawaiian Sushi in 2017. This was followed by Sando, which began as a pop-up serving shokupan (Japanese milk bread) sandwiches.

Kandylidis teamed up with friend Dimitris Kantarakis to create a menu of fluffy sandwiches containing crispy panko-coated chicken or pork drizzled in katsu sauce and set between fluffy tranches of the brioche-like shokupan. It became what Kandylidis describes as a “restaurant within a restaurant” – a permanent fixture in Poké Hawaiian Sushi, set apart with colourful branding courtesy of local design studio K2. “Some of our recipes are a bit out-of-the-box,” says Kandylidis. “Like our tempura cod sando with tartar sauce on the side – that’s my favourite.”
Petraki 7, Athens 10563

Image: Ben Cope

Sunday Roast / Suzana Pires

Cereal success

Rio de Janeiro-born actress, writer and producer Suzana Pires has starred in countless films and telenovelas, and recently moved to Los Angeles to work on a forthcoming TV project (writes Tala Ahmadi). Here, she tells us about her love of beaches, walking the dog and her favourite Italian dish.

Where will we find you this weekend?
Like any good Carioca, I will be at the beach.

What is your ideal start to a Sunday, gentle or a jolt?
I prefer a softer start.

Downward dog or walk the dog?
Definitely walking the dog. I have a toy poodle called Juninho.

What’s for breakfast?
Strawberries, cereal and coffee.

A pantry essential?
Chocolate cookies.

Lunch in or out?
Out, preferably with a great view.

Any Sunday culture must?
A pool party followed by a trip to the market and then the beach, provided it’s sunny.

What’s on the evening menu?
Something warm such as cappelletti in brodo [filled pasta in broth] – yes, I do eat carbs.

Who will join you?
Hopefully a tall, handsome man.

A glass of something you recommend?
A martini.

Any Sunday evening routine?
Skincare. I like to hydrate with great creams. Making sure that my skin feels soft is so important to me.

Your soundtrack of choice?
Rogê and Seu Jorge, Brazilian musicians who I love.

News or no news?
Sometimes no news is good news.

Will you lay out your outfit for Monday?
Nope. I like to improvise.

Image: Satoshi Hashimoto

Recipe / Aya Nishimura

‘Siu mai’ pork dumplings

This week our Japanese recipe writer rustles up the sumptuous but simple-to-make siu mai dumpling, a staple of Cantonese cuisine. Shaping the porky little parcels takes a little practice but you’ll get the knack of it. Enjoy.

Serves 2 (makes 12 dumplings)

180g minced pork
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp brown sugar
8g ginger, peeled and finely grated
½ tbsp saké
1½ tsps light soy sauce
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
90g onion, finely chopped
1½ tbsps potato starch
16 siu mai wrappers (widely available in Asian grocery stores)

To serve
2 tbsps light soy sauce 1 tsp Japanese karashi (English mustard works)


Place the minced pork, salt, sugar, ginger, saké, soy sauce and sesame oil in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with clean hands until the mixture gets sticky.

Toss the onion and potato starch together in a separate bowl. Once the onion is fully coated in the potato starch, add to the pork mixture and combine well.

Flatten the pork mixture and divide into 12. Place a siu mai wrapper in your hand, scrape up a portion of the pork mixture with a spoon and put in the middle of the wrapper. Using your thumb and index finger, shape it into a cylinder. Use a spoon to gently push the top of the mixture and flatten it.

Boil water in a pot. Put the dumplings in a steamer above the water (if you don’t have a steamer, boil 1cm of water in a frying pan and steam the dumplings on a plate that is taller than the water depth).

Wrap a pan lid with a kitchen cloth, tying two corners together, then the other two corners. This will help to prevent the excess steam from dripping over the dumplings. Cover the pot (or pan) with the lid and steam for 8 minutes.

Serve warm with small dishes of soy sauce and karashi.

Weekend plans? / The Barö, Inkoo, Finland

Cabin fever

Nestled among the rocky coastal cliffs of Finland’s Baltic coast, The Barö hotel is just an hour’s drive from Helsinki (writes Petri Burtsoff). It comprises 18 standalone cabins made of locally sourced logs that have been charred with the ancient Japanese shou sugi ban technique to give them durability and charm. Everything at The Barö has been constructed to ensure the preservation of the surrounding nature. “This is a place where you come to ground yourself and experience the soothing effect that the forest and the sea have,” co-founder Netta Paavoseppä tells Monocle. Yet The Barö is far more than a nature retreat. Its cabins are filled with the best of Finnish design such as Hakola lounge chairs, Matri beds and soft linens by Balmuir. The dark palette and subtle lighting by the Helsinki-based Saas Instruments (as well as a blissful absence of screens) keep the focus on the finishes as well as the Finnish landscape. When Monocle visits, a herd of white-tailed deer and a friendly seal were among the attractions.

Image: Samuli Miettinen, Petri Burtsoff
Image: Samuli Miettinen, Petri Burtsoff

The hotel’s restaurant, The Berg, uses ingredients sourced nearby, from bilberries and mushrooms to game. “We regularly take guests foraging in the forest, fishing, kayaking or sailing,” says Paavoseppä. The Barö also has a traditional Finnish seaside sauna and a jetty for those seeking an invigorating and highly recommended dip in the Baltic. The terrace on the highest hill is also worth visiting, especially on a sunny day.

Q&A / Amina Belouizdad Porter

Flight club

Los Angeles-based PS aims to bring a little private-jet panache to the airport experience with a membership model (writes Christopher Lord). Based at LAX since 2017 – and formerly called The Private Suite – this year it’s opening a space in Atlanta and is restoring the mid-century Pan Am terminal at Miami International. We speak to the woman at the controls: CEO Amina Belouizdad Porter.

How does PS work?
If you’re taking a commercial flight, instead of going to the main airport, you arrive at a standalone PS terminal where we check you in and take your luggage. Then you can either head to one of our private suites, each with a well-stocked pantry, or to our salon, which is more social and like a members’ club centred around a bar. At boarding, we take you through our own security and then a BMW will drive you across the airfield to your flight.

What are you planning in Miami?
We’re restoring what was once Pan Am’s regional HQ and will open a terminal there by early 2025. The original, nicknamed “the Taj Mahal” was inspired by the US embassy in New Delhi. Pan Am epitomised the luxury and glamour we associate with the golden age of travel.

What is the future of business travel?
Business has blurred with leisure now that we can work from anywhere but the bar is set a lot higher: I need to be able to get on a call before my flight; I need a workspace but also respite. PS is certainly one solution.

For more travel tips, the latest aviation arrivals and departures, and plenty of food scoops, subscribe to Monocle magazine today.

Get out there / Buy an old guidebook

Lost and found?

Monocle’s September issue is full of prompts and nudges to see the world afresh and get out there. The latest in our series of ideas for gaining a new perspective on life involves seeing familiar cities through another lens.

Travel transports us in more ways than one (writes Josh Fehnert). You might feel that tell-tale frisson of excitement as your plane breaks cloud-cover over a sparkling, unfamiliar city, or perhaps as you recline on a sun-warmed lounger on a weekday afternoon. What’s better than breaking routines and finding fresh ones? And let’s not forget the joy of a good slap-up lunch in unfamiliar climes. Sadly, online recommendations and the droves of modish gone-tomorrow reviews rarely hit the spot. So what about flicking through an old guidebook for a properly unexpected perspective on your destination? There’s much to be gleaned from what has gone before, even if it’s an old curmudgeon’s take on what made a city sing in the 1960s, or what passed for food in a less appetising age. Plus, in the restaurant stakes at least, if a place was good then and has survived since, it’s well worth a punt for that lunch you were after.

For more of our tips for getting out there, buy a copy of our September issue or subscribe so that you never miss out. Thanks for your support and have a super Sunday.


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00