Sunday 23 June 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 23/6/2024

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Rich pickings

In this week’s dispatch we sit down to a Greek-inspired feast from a new opening in London, crack open a bottle from an effervescent cocktail bar on Paris’s elegant Left Bank and rest in a rural guesthouse by Lake Garda’s shimmering waters. Plus: we chat with a French hotelier in the Algarve and dish up colourful Mediterranean mezze from Turkey. At the head of the table is Tyler Brûlé, with a report from this weekend’s Swiss Summer Market.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Living the high life

It’s 14.00 (British Summer Time) on Saturday and I’m in my corner-office perch at Midori House filing this column while waiting for a little lunch delivery from the grill three floors below. It has been a while since we’ve had a proper weekend summer market in London but I’m happy to report that things are in full swing in our converted parking lot-cum-courtyard and visitors have travelled from near and far for a beautiful blend of Swiss and Monocle-style hospitality in the heart of W1. While we’re perhaps best known for our Christmas markets in Zürich and London, we seem to have managed to create a great atmosphere with the help of Switzerland Tourism and a clutch of cities, regions and brands from all corners of the tiny alpine nation.

This is not the first time that we have co-hosted an event with a national tourist organisation but the Swiss seem to be teaching everyone a few lessons about how to lay on a gathering and offer up enough activities and prizes to get people excited about booking a holiday. For starters, there’s a generous giveaway of two plane tickets, four nights at The Omnia in Zermatt and two First Class six-day rail passes. It’s a bit of a tone-setter for all the other stalls that are dispensing rosé from Lugano, slicing samples of belper knolle, pouring whisky and asking people to fold up paper aeroplanes and aim them through the window of a mocked-up Swiss Airbus fuselage. To ensure that even the least dexterous visitors walk away with a little treat, the windows are rather oversized and the fuselage not more than four arm lengths from the throwing line. The result is that every kid under 10 is walking around with a Swiss baseball cap. Not bad as an out-of-home advertising concept and a clever way to convert future travellers long before they’ll be picking up the tab for their own flights.

Image: Peter Flude
Image: Peter Flude
Image: Peter Flude

As I’m one of the hosts, I should be getting back down to my post selling subscriptions at our Monocle stand. If you’re not a paid-up Monocle subscriber yet, I encourage you to take advantage of our graduate campaign that we’re currently running. You don’t need to be a student or even a graduate (I’m certainly not!) to enjoy the discount, so sign up here. Just as institutions of higher education need people to pay tuition (unless, of course, they’re state sponsored), Monocle needs generous readers and listeners to help pay for our reporting, essay writing, broadcasting and more. As a family-owned organisation, we’re not state sponsored, so it’s important that we have an audience who understands that we can’t do what we do without people purchasing our publication on newsstands or bookshops or taking out a subscription.

Image: Peter Flude
Image: Peter Flude
Image: Peter Flude

If you’ve been passing through airports and rail stations of late, you might have noticed that space devoted to print media continues to vanish. The shelves once devoted to books, magazines and newspapers have now been replaced by more refrigerators full of fizzy drinks and chilled milky beverages. It makes the task of getting our magazine into peoples’ hands rather difficult, kills off any potential sampling and ultimately means that we need to depend on subscribers and our advertisers to deliver this newsletter, magazines, podcasts and assorted special editions. The trend of actively deleting culture in favour of beverages is frankly depressing. Do consumers really need every shop at Basel or Hamburg or Penn Station to sell cold drinks? Don’t people need to be nourished on page and not just on screen? Until we open up more of our own shops (Frankfurt Airport opens 1 August), it’s going to become increasingly difficult to find Monocle and many other of your favourite titles. That’s a simple fact.

If you’d like to get our titles and other treats to your door or desk, sign up here or drop my colleague Ailish a note if you want a special deal for your company or whole family. And finally, on the topic of family, it’s time for our annual reunion of readers and staffers. I’m happy to report that you’ve got three and a half months to work on your outfits before the Monocle Quality of Life Conference gets under way in Istanbul. We’ll be touching down by the Bosphorus from 10-12 October. Secure your tickets here and stand by for our flight and hotel offers via our partners over the coming weeks. We very much look forward to seeing you for some early autumn warmth on the terrace of The Peninsula Istanbul.

New opening / Oma, London

Greek revival

Barbadian chef and restaurateur David Carter of nose-to-tail restaurant Manteca, which is known for its hand-rolled pasta, travelled the length and breadth of Greece in preparation for the launch of his new opening, Oma (writes Claudia Jacob). Located in Borough Market, the menu, created by Ecuadorian chef Jorge Paredes (previously of Sabor in Mayfair), offers a rich, culinary fusion that combines the flavours and textures of the Levant.

Image: OMA
Image: OMA

Oma might be a riff on Carter’s Greek inspiration but there isn’t a morsel of feta in sight. Instead, dishes start with the four ingredients that form the bedrock of the country’s cuisine: oregano, salt, lemon and olive oil. Try the zesty Peruvian ceviche, creamy lobster bourek from Tel Aviv or yellowfin tuna in clementine ponzu discovered in Tokyo. There are also pillowy açma bagels discovered in Istanbul (“It’s the best bread I’ve had in my life”), spanakopita gratin and labneh with salted cod, crispy shallots and chilli oil from Aleppo. “At Oma, I have implemented the same practices as at Manteca,” says Carter. “Each dish arrives at the restaurant in its raw form: bread comes as flour and pasta as egg yolks.” It’s a creative take on Greek gastronomy, which shows that the nation’s culinary repertoire extends far beyond its balmy Mediterranean shores.

Sunday Roast / Veronique Polaert

Back to nature

French hotelier Veronique Polaert opened the Algarve’s Casa Mãe after realising there was a gap for more smart hotels in the region (writes Gabrielle Grangié). The 37-room boutique hotel places a strong emphasis on regional craftsmanship and has its own retail space dedicated to “Made in Portugal” items. Here, she tells us about her love of fresh produce, her Brazilian-inspired soundtrack and holidaying in Andalusia.

Where will we find you this weekend?
At the beach in Lagos, Portugal, with my kids.

Your ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle or a jolt?
I like to enjoy the view from our home and admire the endless blue skies.

What’s for breakfast?
Fruit and a matcha latte with homemade almond milk. I enjoy eating strawberries from our orchards and delicious local nectarines.

Lunch in or out?
Definitely out, with an ocean view, please.

A Sunday soundtrack?
I would put on Casa Mãe’s playlist, which is full of happy bossa nova.

Sunday culture must?
Reading magazines and basking in the sun; it’s a great way to recharge and boost creativity.

What’s your summer-holiday destination of choice this year and why?
The Andalusian coast and the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park. I love going there for the warm, long evenings and the relaxed atmosphere. The untouched landscape lets you immerse yourself in nature. Then Sevilla, of course, for its vibrant culture.

Beach or urban waterfront?
I live in Lagos all year round, so I have to say the beach.

News or no news?
At the weekend, I like creative publications such as Monocle, which allow me to disconnect.

What’s on the menu?
Grilled local fish and veggies, and a glass of dry, mineral white wine.

Will you lay out an outfit for Monday?
I don’t for myself but I always check that my children’s school uniforms are pristine.

Illustration: Xiha

Recipe / Aya Nishimura

Poached salmon, tarragon aioli and steamed baby potatoes

Monocle’s Japanese chef cooks up a fresh meal featuring plenty of garlic, olive oil and fresh tarragon. It’s a crowd-pleaser and a dish that will see you through the warmer months.

Serves 2


For the aioli
2 large egg yolks
1 garlic clove, finely grated
4 tsps fresh lemon juice
100ml extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp fine sea salt
15g tarragon, finely chopped
300g baby potatoes, cut in half or into quarters, if large

For the poached fish
2x 180g filleted salmon
A few slices of lemon
A few stems of tarragon
10 black peppercorns
30ml of white wine (optional)


Put the egg yolks, grated garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl or a jar that’s wide enough to hold a stick blender. Whisk until mixed.

Slowly add the olive oil into the egg-yolk mixture. Stir continuously, making sure that everything emulsifies. Then, add the tarragon and lightly blend until it forms a coarse paste. If you’re not using a blender, make sure to chop the tarragon finely.

Place the baby potatoes in a steamer and cook for 8-10 minutes, until soft.

Bring half a cup of water, just enough to submerge the fish, to a simmer in a frying pan with the slices of lemon, tarragon stems, black peppercorns and white wine (if using). As soon as the water starts to simmer, gently slide in the fish fillets and cover with a sheet of baking paper cut to the size of the pan. Gently poach for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. You can test whether the fish is ready by gently pressing the flesh. When cooked, it will flake away easily.

Lift the fish out of the pan and place on a plate. Add the steamed potatoes on the side along with the tarragon aioli and a fresh salad with a simple vinaigrette.

Weekend plans? / Borgo Tre, Lake Garda

Head for the hills

Borgo Tre is a rural hideaway in the hills overlooking Lake Garda, surrounded by ancient cypress and olive trees (writes Graeme Green). The elegantly restored 18th-century farmhouse, built from travertine marble, offers six suites, each boasting private gardens, attractive wooden furniture from local artisans and light natural tones.

Image: Borge Tre
Image: Borge Tre

Located close to the peninsula of Punta San Vigilio in upper Garda, the charming guesthouse is owned by the Hinteregger family, former mountain-farmers-turned-hoteliers, who run Sonnwies in Lüsen, South Tyrol. Switching off and finding tranquillity is the order of the day thanks to a heated pool built from locally sourced granite, outdoor cabanas and a Finnish sauna. Guests are treated to Italian farm breakfast boxes in their suites every morning, featuring cornettos, crusty bread and cold cuts. From there, they can head off to the rustic neighbouring village of Torri del Benaco where the Italian philosophy of dolce far niente is a given.

Image: Tony Hay

Bottoms Up / Cravan x Hennessey

Bottled-up feelings

Since opening last June, French historian-turned-mixologist Franck Audoux’s multi-level cocktail bar Cravan in Paris’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés has been captivating guests with its delightful tipples and elegant atmosphere (writes Lucrezia Motta). It’s now possible to recreate some of the city’s spirit as Cravan has partnered with Hennessy to concoct one of this summer’s freshest cocktails: the boulevardier, a bottled revisitation of a bourbon negroni.

The drink comes in two distinct versions: one with Hennessy’s Very Special cognac and a second with the XO cognac. “This cocktail represents Cravan’s know-how in bottled form,” says Audoux. “We wanted to create a French version of the negroni that respected the heritage of Hennessey’s traditional cognacs.”

For more pristine Parisian restaurants, hotels and watering holes, pick up a copy of the ‘Monocle Paris Newspaper’, which is available on newsstands now.

Cooking the Books / ‘Sebze’

Root of the matter

Sebze is Turkish food writer Özlem Warren’s feast for the season (writes Rory Jones). Published by Hardie Grant, the recipes inside are simple, summery and sustainable, featuring colourful platters of vegetarian dishes to brighten any garden table spread. Sebze, Turkish for “vegetables”, duly invites the reader to step away from any expectations of cooking skewered meat to show that Turkish cuisine is as healthy as it is vibrant.

Image: Tony Hay
Image: Tony Hay

There are thousands of years of culinary heritage to draw on: whether it’s herby kaygana crêpes, flaky börek or sweet walnut baklava, Warren brings a glimpse of her hometown in southern Turkey to this collection of time-honoured crowd pleasers.

For more summer recipes, dishes and inspiration, pick up a copy of Monocle’s latest issue or subscribe so that you never miss an issue. Have a super Sunday.


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