Sunday 28 April 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 28/4/2024

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Modern classics

This week we check in to a Tribeca bolthole that’s bringing some extra flair to Lower Manhattan’s hospitality scene and sample the tasty Anglo-French fare in a new southeast-London favourite. We also tuck in to an indulgent chocolate cake with Australia’s doyenne of desserts and step into a timeless Lisbon institution that has been tempting everyone from statesmen to sex workers since 1966. Before we get started, Tyler Brûlé has the answers from our latest quiz series, hot off the presses...

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Thoughts that count

This Sunday morning starts with a little awards ceremony for all the readers who chose to partake in a rather irregular recent series of The Monocle Weekend Edition. All participants dutifully responded within the allotted window, save for one who asked for an extension because the wi-fi on his flight wasn’t working. While I know from personal experience that this can happen when you fly over the North Pole, I also know that the “no connectivity” excuse has become the modern version of “my dog ate my homework”. Worry not, he was disqualified. So, without further ado, a huge thank you to those who responded from all corners of the world. Below are the questions with the sharpest answers to each. The winners will receive some lovely treats in the form of very handsome print – hot from the printers.

Our local newspaper recently announced that the hardware shop near Monocle’s HQ in Zürich will soon close down because the rents have been jacked up. This is not a unique case. Local hardware shops are disappearing all over the world and we’re increasingly forced to buy basics such as brooms and crap lightbulbs in out-of-town box shops, which often demand a car. How do we stop this neighbourhood and household-destroying trend? Can Unesco help?

A: To rescue our hardware havens, we need a strategy tighter than a rusted nut. Let’s channel our inner MacGyver and get crafty. Perhaps Unesco could designate them as “Shrine of the Screwdriver” or “Temple of the Toolbox” because, really, where else can you find a wrench and a dose of neighbourhood gossip in the same trip?
Martina from Taipei.

A: Create municipal buildings that allow low-margin, yet community-essential functions, at reasonable rents. Off-piste sites, perhaps on the ground floor of parking structures.
Peter from Surfside, Florida, USA.

Graduation season is upon us in the northern hemisphere and celebrations are getting under way. I have very little trouble finding a lawyer to review contracts but it’s near impossible to find someone who can hang photos and paintings that are level, well-spaced and secure. Why are we not putting greater emphasis on training people to fulfil simple, daily needs with accuracy and dignity?

A: It is easier and more ego-enhancing to focus on and boast about contributions to social issues that will have negative consequences in 30, 50 or 100 years from now (the climate, for example) than the mundane here-and-now quality-of-life issues (health, education, civil standards). Without addressing the latter, we will be living on a planet barely worth saving.
James from Marylebone, London.

I’m on my flight from Toronto to Zürich. Uniforms on this particular carrier seem to be an option for the crew. It’s a creative free-for-all. When did the employer lose their nerve to stand-up for their brand? Can this be corrected?

A: Now I do want to know the carrier… When I remember my days at the École hôtelière de Lausanne, there was a teacher roaming the halls of the school and sending students back home or to their dorms if they were not dressed or shaved properly. The airline won’t send a flight attendant back home otherwise the flight won’t depart but there should be a final check before leaving the back of the airport for the general area. Empower the person in charge, such as the maître de cabine, to check that an employee is properly dressed and to take action if they are not. Better yet, instead of punishing them, reward the employees for looking their best.
Jonathan from Zürich.

I’m still on the same flight and half the crew is wearing masks and surgical gloves. Do the staff know something that I don’t? Are they performing surgery and doing root canals at door 3? Is Covid still lurking large on some 777s?

A: Perhaps they’re preparing for emergency measures in case the in-flight entertainment systems fail and they must provide amusement: Emergency Room – Live Theater Edition!
Johannes from Berlin.

A man is stabbed and killed in broad daylight on a train in London. Someone else is assaulted and killed in Toronto. The police have issued a description and are looking for witnesses. The suspect was male, wearing sneakers and had a medium-built frame. Really? Is that the best that you can do? Surely they might have had red hair and freckles? Obese? Were they perhaps young? Did they speak with an accent? Were they white, Asian or a Pacific Islander? Here’s the question: How can we curb violent crime when we’re too scared to describe suspects?

A: A suspect description for the public in the era of constant surveillance isn’t what it used to be. The whole “no ethnic details” thing isn’t helping. The violent-crime issue doesn’t need the public anymore. But there are areas where being precise and not thinking of political correctness is important.
Stavros from Athens.

Why do some people look hot in eyewear?

A: I ask myself the same question when I look in the mirror every day.
Philip from Weston, Connecticut, USA.

I keep meeting Americans who say that they’re going to leave the US no matter who wins the election in November. I sort of understand that but their country is huge and you can get on with your life quite happily if you move to other states, hang out with like-minded people – or jolly Brazilians – and expose yourself to international media. Last time around, many in the US said that they were going to move to Vancouver but I don’t think that quite worked out. So where will Americans go come January 2025?

A: It is a well-known fact that the average American would confuse a jolly Brazilian with a fence-hopping illegal job stealer from down south and international media for fake news. Frankly, Americans can go wherever they like, as long as it’s not near us. We don’t want to show up on their Instagram stories.
Ben and Mélanie from Paris.

Last week I read a story about the owner of a tobacco business who is in his nineties, employs thousands of people, doesn’t own a smartphone, still uses a typewriter and has chosen to ensure that his companies are not digitally dependent. His portrait suggested that he’s having a grand old time. Dinosaur or genius? Why?

A: A recent scientific study says that tapping away on an Olivetti for five hours a day is great physical exercise. It’s the equivalent to running a 10k and is superb for longevity and general health. And you don’t need a Garmin or Strava to tell you how your training is going. Genius.
Will from Bristol.

In many Toronto shops, you’re now welcomed by clouds of weed smoke when you pop in to buy a book or magazine but you still have to be penned into a patio if you want to have a glass of wine outdoors. Many corners of Australia also demand that you stay in a well-defined box to consume your rosé. What do these countries think will happen if you remove the barriers around enjoying a beverage in the sun?

A: I might be an old square but I don’t understand the weed culture one tiny bit. I assume that it makes your clothes, breath, hair and anything else in its proximity smell dank and horrible. It leads to lazy fashion choices. And it numbs you to hard work, whether physical or intellectual.

A refreshing tipple, on the other hand, is a treat for everyone. In moderation, it loosens us up. And the world needs a little – check that, a lot of – loosening up. The powers that be don’t trust the populace to act in moderation. And perhaps they’re right, if spring break in Miami Beach or stag dos in Tallinn are any indication.

Still, the sensible among us shouldn’t have to pay for the sins or lack of restraint of others. Let us drink our G&Ts in the park.
Ian from Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

The evening menu is presented on my long-haul flight. There are a few classic dishes that are described in a rather dull manner when compared with the ‘topinambur purée drizzled with garlic-infused Greek extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with onion crisps’. Why would you serve such a dish in an enclosed space? And why would the crew allow for a meal option that would make for a deadly cabin three hours later?

A: Because what could be more reassuring than enjoying a meal of topinambur purée with a side of potential cabin chaos, all while the crew ensures that everyone voluntarily dons their face masks to contain the aftermath? It’s the epitome of in-flight dining: a delicate balance of culinary indulgence and safety precautions. Let’s raise a toast to the brave souls who dare to dine in the skies, with masks at the ready for both flavour and filtration.
Rodrigo from Mexico City.

Eating out / Camille, London

The more, the merrier

Launched by Clare Lattin and Tom Hill, the restaurateurs behind Soho’s Ducksoup and Dalston’s Little Duck, this Borough Market bolthole recreates a Provençal cave à manger in a neighbourhood that prides itself on British produce (writes Claudia Jacob). Its head chef, Elliot Hashtroudi, employs nose-to-tail techniques that he honed during his stint at London’s St John to create dishes such as pig’s-trotter terrine served with Dijon mustard and crunchy cornichons.

Image: Camille

Diners are encouraged to share a seasonal selection of (not so) small plates, which, when Monocle visits, includes treats such as crab toast, pied de mouton mushrooms, crispy purple-sprouting broccoli and potato pavé. The generosity of the portions extends to the sweets, which are well worth leaving room for: our pick is the brown-butter tart encased in pâte sucrée and flambéed with a gentle lick of the blowtorch.

For more of Monocle’s food and drink recommendations from across the globe, pick up a copy of our May issue, which is on newsstands now.

Image: Hugh Stewart

Sunday Roast / Donna Hay

What’s cooking?

Sydney-based food writer Donna Hay’s latest book, Even More Basics to Brilliance, celebrates the cult classics of her country’s culinary repertoire (writes Julia Lasica). A familiar face on Australia’s cooking programmes, she is known for her simple but satisfying recipes. Here, she tells us about the fresh goat’s-cheese salad on her Sunday-lunch menu and listening to the sounds of the sea.

Where will we find you this weekend?
At home, icing multiple three-layered chocolate cakes for my friend’s 40th birthday party.

Your ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle or a jolt?
A combination of the two. I’m always out of bed early as I love to get the most out of every day. I start with a stretch and a strong coffee. Then I like to go out for a walk or a run.

What’s for breakfast?
A green juice and more coffee. I’m not a big breakfast eater, though I might steal a bite of my partner’s – usually avocado on seeded toast.

Lunch in or out?
Mostly in. I love to cook and host long Sunday lunches. For me, it’s the perfect time to catch up with friends, chat and laugh a lot.

Walk the dog or downward dog?
I often walk with my best friend, who brings her two dogs, Ted and Alfie.

A Sunday soundtrack?
The waves crashing onto the beach outside my home.

A Sunday culture must?
I like to spend some time with my boys to catch up on life. Sometimes we go for a swim or just hang out on the couch.

News or no news?
It’s the weekend, so the news can wait.

What’s on the menu?
I over-cater for lunch. There is always a lot of food but leftovers are a great way to start the week. I love a big, crunchy layered salad with a great dressing, so I usually make two of those to graze on. Think bitter greens with grains, candied nuts, goat’s cheese and pomegranate or ripe tomatoes with crushed-basil oil, burrata and crispy parmesan croutons. For dessert, it’s a fudgy, flourless chocolate cake with vanilla-bean ice cream and raspberries.

A Sunday-evening routine?
Something self-care related. I usually spend 10 minutes under my light mask or go to a sauna and ice-bath spa.

Will you lay out an outfit for Monday?
Never. I don’t want to think about Monday on a Sunday.

Illustration: Xiha

Recipe / Ralph Schelling

Pan con tomate

Monocle’s Swiss chef, Ralph Schelling, takes us through his version of pan con tomate, a staple of Spanish tapas culture. For a twist, add some jamón iberico or piquillo peppers, or grate a clove of garlic over the bread.

Serves 4

Olive oil
4 slices of fresh bread
3 ripe tomatoes
8 Cantabrian anchovies
Sea salt flakes, to taste
Chives, to garnish


Pour a generous glug of olive oil into a frying pan over a medium heat. Place the slices of bread in the oil.

Fry the bread until it is crispy and golden brown on one side. Flip the slices and repeat on the other side.

Slice the tomatoes in half and grate them over the bread to create a pulp.

Top every slice of bread with an equal amount of the anchovies, as well as a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of the sea salt and a sprinkling of finely chopped chives.

Weekend plans? / Warren Street Hotel, New York

Firm favourite

The London-based Firmdale Hotels group has opened its 11th property, an eye-catching blue fronted building in Tribeca that stands out against the prevailing red brick of the block (writes Mary Holland). “We love Crittall windows,” says co-founder and creative director Kit Kemp, who also used them at the firm’s two other Manhattan outposts, Crosby Street and the Whitby Hotel. “They’re such classics. They look as good in Paris as they do downtown.” The interior is a mishmash of patterns and wallpapers in a range of colours and textures; it shouldn’t work but somehow does. “All of the pieces speak to one another,” says Kemp.

Image: Max Burkhalter
Image: Max Burkhalter
Image: Max Burkhalter

The property is a breath of fresh air in a neighbourhood that has welcomed an influx of galleries but long lacked appealing independent hotels. The 69 guest rooms and suites are decorated with brightly hued curtains and carpets. After a day of exploring the city, head to the brasserie, which serves wild mushroom risotto, scallops and strip steak au poivre, as well as a decadent afternoon tea with macarons, scones, clotted cream and champagne.

For a rundown of the shops and hotels on our radar, pick up the May issue of Monocle today.

Image: Tony Hay

Nice package / Eumelia

Back to the land

Eumelia’s co-founder Frangiskos Karelas packed in his job at the European Parliament to swap pressing political issues for pressing olives (writes Jack Simpson). Today he uses sun-soaked drupes from ancient Peloponnese groves in southern Greece to produce his organic extra-virgin olive oil. “After taking a break from politics in Athens and revisiting my family’s land in Laconia for the first time as an adult, I instantly felt connected to it,” says Karelas. “So we decided to create something to help link people in city centres to nature.”

Eumelia’s sustainable farm also welcomes guests, who come to enjoy its garden-to-table food, wine cultivated from regional grapes and, most importantly, olive oil tastings in the countryside. The lodges share the matte-pink finish of Eumelia’s oil bottles, which is reminiscent of the terracotta earth of the Karelas’s native Laconia.

Image: Rodrigo Cardoso

Hospitality holdout / Galeto, Lisbon

Comfort zone

Monocle has been celebrating the hospitality holdouts that have become culinary stalwarts in their cities, thanks to their dependable menus, smart service and determination not to change the recipe or rip out the fittings every five years. This week we take a counter seat at Lisbon’s Galeto.

What makes a restaurant dependable (writes Gaia Lutz)? In Galeto’s case, it’s simply that it’s almost always an option for hungry Lisboetas: it is open 20 hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days a year. “In some ways, Galeto is like a hospital or post office,” says its owner, Francisco Oliveira. In other words, it’s more of a service than a mere restaurant, welcoming diners whenever they’re in need of a hearty meal. Launched in 1966, it has roots in both Brazilian and European culinary traditions. In the mid-20th century, members of the Italian diaspora who had settled in South America opened informal canteens in smart surroundings, serving the unfussy chicken dish that gave Galeto its name.

Lisbon is a fast-evolving city but Galeto has remained remarkably consistent. Its steadfast adherence to its original formula has insulated it from passing fads – a trait that residents of the Portuguese capital clearly cherish. The menu is vast but the house staples are reassuringly simple. These include bife à Galeto (beef with fried egg, ham and pickles) and a burger served with chips and creamed spinach. The crowd becomes a little more raucous in the evenings, with chatty groups of twentysomethings, post-theatre couples and a diverse mix of regulars occupying the tables. “This is a family-owned business with a mission,” says Oliveira. “It’s the kind of place that we never see in hospitality today.” Well, almost never.
Avenida da República 14, 1050-191 Lisbon

For more hospitality holdouts, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Monocle. Or subscribe so that you never miss an issue. Have a super Sunday.


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