Sunday 17 September 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 17/9/2023

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Get up and go

It has been a long week, so why not take a load off while our editors whisk you to their top hospitality finds? We share a curtain-up moment in St Moritz and reel in a seafood treat at a restaurant in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Plus, we visit a Tokyo bolthole that’s bringing the human touch back to hotels and cook up a zingy mackerel recipe. But leading the tour with his weekly dispatch from the road is our editorial director, Tyler Brûlé.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Give and take

On a recent swing through North America, it was startling to see how many retail outlets were putting daily essentials under lock and key. From toothpaste to deodorant, batteries to tissues, household basics are now given a similar level of security to a fine timepiece or a smartphone. Some cities in the US no longer consider theft a felony under certain dollar amounts and many retailers stand aside while their aisles are emptied, creating a boom for thieves and security firms alike. If you’re a 17-year-old gang member or 45-year-old mother, you’re unlikely to face charges if you fill your pockets with commodity items that can be easily resold or simply put into use. For the makers of alarms and employers of security guards, this free-for-all has seen retailers large and small having to install elaborate tagging systems to deter thieving while also contracting in security staff to keep an eye on canned goods and bottles of ketchup. What next?

If lawmakers don’t swiftly take matters into hand, then pharmacies and supermarkets might start looking the same as they did at the start of the 20th century – out with aisles and in with everything behind a counter. It may sound slightly far-fetched but shopkeepers might soon have little choice but to keep all items at a distance from even the most honest consumers. For a more optimistic take on the state of retail, please pick up a copy of Monocle’s October issue, which comes out this week, or swing by the Monocle Shop in Zürich. If you venture across the street to your neighbourhood florist or up the block to a major grocery store, you’ll witness social capital hard at work in the form of trees, flowers and soil all left outside, unguarded, unmonitored and completely undisturbed. There are pockets of this planet where a combination of trust, watchfulness and respect all work in perfect concert. If you want to see it first-hand, join us in Zürich at our autumn market on 30 September to witness polite society at its best.

House news / ‘The Monocle Companion: Fifty Ideas for a Better World’

Good on paper

Keen for an upbeat read on the companies, people and ideas shaping the world for the better? Then we’ve got a treat for you. The newest edition of Monocle’s popular paperback The Monocle Companion is still on all good newsstands and available online. Expect fifty lively essays on everything from travelling better to how not to be an expat, why words matter and the importance of friendship in an increasingly lonely world. For more big thoughts from authors, thinkers and architects, plus a dose of humour, wit and wisdom, pick up a copy today. Isn’t it time to turn the page?

Eating out / Loulou Pirate, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Sunny disposition

Run by brother-and-sister duo Gilles and Claire Malafosse, and located between Menton and Monaco, this restaurant is the fourth member of the Loulou restaurant group, which also has outposts further along the Côte d’Azur, in Paris and in Val d’Isère. Named after English fashion designer Loulou de la Falaise, Yves Saint Laurent’s muse, Loulou Pirate is elegant and enjoyable in equal measure. Try the catch of the day with a pale Provençal rosé, followed by red-fruit pavlova to share.

Image: Matthieu Salvaing

New opening / Scala, St Moritz

A screen for all seasons

After more than 80 years of business, Scala cinema in St Moritz closed in 2016 (writes Désirée Bandli). As one of the Engadin valley’s last-remaining picture houses, it was a local institution – but the ground on which the structure stood was unstable, so demolishing it and erecting a new building was the only option. Fritz Burkard, president of the St Moritz Bobsleigh Club, was undaunted by the challenge and took it on. When Scala’s doors swung open again this summer, the venue was more than just a refurbished cinema. “It’s important to bring people together, to offer a place to exchange ideas,” Burkard tells Monocle.

The centrepiece of the building is a slide that runs through the foyer from the second floor to the basement. Upstairs, Burkard has built a museum dedicated to bobsleighing, complete with a replica of the Cresta Run – an ice route created from scratch every year in St Moritz. The screening room has 107 crimson seats and cinemagoers in the front row are treated to comfy footstools. Burkard’s aim is to keep the doors open all year, unlike many other venues in town. “Scala makes life in St Moritz more attractive,” he says. “Tourists are welcome but it has to work mostly for residents.”

Image: Joel Hunn
Image: Joel Hunn
Image: Joel Hunn

In the building’s restaurant, dishes made using regional ingredients are served at a long pine table, while wall-mounted screens broadcast bobsleigh races. The bar’s main attraction is a series of installations by artist James Turrell. This room, as with all the others, was designed to be rented out and to host a wide range of occasions. In the future, Burkard hopes to collaborate with citywide events such as the Festival da Jazz. “Every space can be adapted to people’s needs,” says Lara Müller, Scala’s executive director (pictured). “We want to serve the community.”

For more about our favourite cinemas around the world, pick up a copy of Monocle’s September issue.

Image: Vic Bakin

Sunday Roast / Masha Reva

Art of the matter

Masha Reva is a Ukrainian artist and creative director who has collaborated with musician Harry Styles and designer Simon Porte Jacquemus. Based between Kyiv and Odesa, Reva is also creative director of I Am U Are, a business platform and fair for Ukrainian creatives, which took place earlier this year in New York. Here, she tells us about seasonal salads, Kyiv’s cafés and where to find her on a Sunday.

Where will we find you this weekend?
I’ll be finishing my European tour in Rome and then heading back to Kyiv to shoot a video campaign for one of my main projects.

What’s your ideal way to begin a Sunday – a gentle start or a jolt?
I’m all for taking it easy. My morning usually involves a coffee and a cigarette, followed by a 20-minute workout wherever I find myself that week.

What’s for breakfast?
A salad with seasonal vegetables, homemade Ukrainian sunflower oil, scrambled eggs and salmon with pink Himalayan salt.

Lunch in or out?
Out. In Kyiv I’m spoiled with all the amazing options that my neighbourhood, Golden Gate, has to offer. My favourite café is called Kosatka.

Downward dog or walk the dog?
I try to exercise almost every day. I do a mix of Pilates, yoga and stretching. Consistency definitely makes a difference.

A Sunday soundtrack?
Right now I’m listening to the audiobook of Just Kids by Patti Smith.

News or not?
The reality of war in Ukraine means that I check the news regularly.

Any Sunday-evening routine?
I like to have a drink and a walk along Peyzazhna Alley in Kyiv.

Will you lay out your outfit for Monday morning?
Never. I only know what I’m going to wear when I wake up.

Image: Satoshi Hashimoto

Recipe / Aya Nishimura

Pan-fried mackerel with salsa

This week’s recipe is an ideal light lunch for two. The just-cooked mackerel fillets are complemented by a zingy tomato-and-dill salsa with a citrussy kick.

Serves 2

For the salsa
125g cucumber
150g fresh tomato
½ small red onion
15g dill, roughly chopped
½ large fresh lime, juiced
¼ tsp sea salt

For the fish
2 mackerel fillets
1½ tbsps olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely sliced
A large pinch of salt and black pepper


Start with the salsa. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Now chop these halves into small cubes, followed by the tomato and red onion. Roughly chop the dill and mix with the diced vegetables. Squeeze the lime juice on top, add sea salt and mix again.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the mackerel fillets. Pour half a tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan, along with the garlic slices. Heat until the garlic becomes a light-gold colour. Add the mackerel to the pan and fry for 2 minutes on each side.

Remove the fillets from the pan and place on a serving plate. Spoon on the salsa and remaining olive oil and sprinkle the crispy garlic over the fish. Enjoy.

Weekend plans? / Auberge Tokito, Tokyo

Eat, sleep, repeat

The recently opened Auberge Tokito is 40 minutes from central Tokyo and a minute from the small commuter station of Nishi-Kunitachi (writes Fiona Wilson). Beyond the fluttering noren curtain, guests are ushered into a private world of innovative Japanese cooking, onsen (hot-spring) baths with water piped from deep below the ground and an atmospheric Japanese tea room, all set in the partially renovated building and garden of Mumon-an, a traditional restaurant that used to stand here.

Image: Fuminari Yoshitsugu
Image: Fuminari Yoshitsugu
Image: Fuminari Yoshitsugu

The four-room hotel is owned by Tachihi, formerly an aircraft manufacturer, which lured chef Yoshinori Ishii from London, where he had led the kaiseki (multi-course dinner) restaurant Umu to Michelin stardom. Everything about the bedrooms – two Western, two Japanese – is best in class: mattresses, linens, quilts, even turntables and speakers. There are mud plaster walls and paper screens; bathrooms come with their own spa bed (treatments on request) and the products are made by Japanese botanical brand Waphyto.

For many, the draw is the hotel’s restaurant, which is divided between a 10-seat counter for those who want to see the chefs at work and a 22-seat dining room overlooking a courtyard. Ishii’s team includes fellow Michelin-starred chef Kenji Okawara, who is both head chef and general manager. “We’re using Japanese ingredients but in a fresh way,” Ishii tells Monocle on our tour. “Kaiseki has become so much about rules. But we make great cheese in Japan now, so why not include it?”

Image: Tony Hay

The stack / Editor’s picks

Novel ideas

Here, Monocle’s well-read editors select a few of the best new releases that have crossed the culture desk. That means paying a visit to a Portland librarian and taking a trip through revolutionary France.

‘The Librarianist’ by Patrick deWitt
Award-winning author DeWitt tells the heartwarming tale of Bob Comet, a retired librarian seeking solace in a sedate life in Portland. Weaving accounts of wartime bravery, lost romance and everyday joys, DeWitt celebrates the extraordinary moments nestled within the ordinary with wit and empathy.
‘The Librarianist’ is out now.

‘Pet’ by Catherine Chidgey
Justine always wanted to be her teacher’s pet. When the crown is hers, she revels in being the chosen one. But as things at the school start to go missing, tension descends on the classroom. Chidgey’s novel soon turns into an exploration of racism, misogyny and oppressive Catholicism, viewed through the microcosm of a school in 1980s New Zealand.
‘Pet’ is out now.

‘The Glutton’ by AK Blakemore
Set in 18th-century France, Blakemore’s follow-up to The Manningtree Witches tells the strange story of Tarare, a peasant with an insatiable appetite. As he lies in a hospital in Versailles, we learn of his journey from the south of France to Paris. Through Tarare’s thrilling travels, we witness the upheaval of the French Revolution in a lyrical tale of desire.
‘The Glutton’ is published on 21 September.

Image: Dan Wilton

Get out there / Take a hike

Higher ground

Every week we’re celebrating Monocle’s best-foot-forward, get-up-and-go September issue. Here, we ruminate on the merits of lacing up a pair of hiking boots and seeing things from a new vantage point.

Climbing to the top of a hill always feels good, even when the person who dragged you up there says, “I told you so.” But to really get the most out of the experience, make sure that you have a pair of good hiking boots. For a lasting yet stylish option, try Italian brand Diemme. Based in the small town of Onè di Fonte, it crafts hiking boots that are just as suited to hiking the Dolomites as they are to walking Bolzano’s cobbled city streets. But don’t worry if you scuff your pair a little. After all, any seasoned walker worth their salt knows that pristine kicks never got anyone anywhere.

For more places to see once you’re out there, buy a copy of Monocle’s September issue today. Better yet, subscribe and join the club. Have a super Sunday.


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