Mono Combines French Fine Dining With Latin American Fare

Following the success of its fine dining ventures, including Michelin-starred Louise and Duddell’s, JIA Group continues to impress gourmands with its contemporary fare, through one of its latest openings, Mono. Helmed by world-renowned Chef Ricardo Chaneton, the restaurant delivers delectable French cuisine, with international influences, set within an intimate 30-seater venue. We wined and dined at the stylish eatery, to try the chef’s tasting menu, a myriad of the best seasonal flavours using the most premium ingredients.

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Image courtesy of Mono/Jia Group

Location


Tucked away on Central’s Lan Street, Mono is conveniently located within close proximity of its partner restaurants. The eatery is nestled far from the busy side of Central, offering a calm respite from crowds and noise.

Chef Ricardo Chaneton | image courtesy of Mono/JIA Group

The Chef


Previously working at Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe—including being the Head Chef at three Michelin-starred Mirazur (also voted No.1 for World’s 50 Best Restaurant 2019—Chef Ricardo Chaneton holds extensive culinary expertise. The 32-year-old Venezuelan chef then moved to Hong Kong, where he helmed the kitchen at Petrus, Island Shangri-La, and now, Mono, in collaboration with the highly-acclaimed JIA Group.

His background in French fine dining, combined with his knowledge of hometown South American recipes, make Mono a successful experimentation of both. The contemporary French concept focuses on one single ingredient-driven seasonal tasting menu—hence the name, Mono. Following this direction, Mono was born, with the simple and straight-forward idea that gourmands can indulge in a highly essentialist approach, to celebrate the beauty of seasonal ingredients in a modern setting.

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Image courtesy of Mono/Jia Group

Design


Straying away from the typical interiors found in European fine dining, Mono opens the space up, with its welcoming chef’s counter and cosy dining room. The main colour palette is an inviting deep blue, and its mix of patterns reflect the Latin American influences, embodying the chef’s upbringing in Venezuela. Designed by Alan Lo, who describes the intent of the design as to draw attention to the chef’s table, the restaurant is decked in hand-made marble and terrazzo on the floors, as well as special claddings made of recycled wool.

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Image courtesy of MONO/Jia Group

Guests can also dine in one of the two dining rooms, which can be combined into one room, featuring decorative lights by Michael Anastassides, dining chairs by Jason Miller, and a customised carpet by Omar Khan. As with many of JIA Group’s properties, artwork adorns the walls, and Mono’s pieces include works by Japanese sculptor Kishio Suga, a key member of the MONO-HA art movement of the late 1960s and 1970s.


The Mono Tasting Menu


Using only the finest seasonal ingredients on the market, Mono’s tasting menu commits to sustainability and responsible sourcing (the restaurant has also teamed up with ZeroFoodprint, an international non-profit organisation committed to fighting climate change, thus a 3% carbon tax is added to all bills).


The tasting menu showcases Chef Ricardo’s culinary expertise in matching unusual textures and flavours, resulting in a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes, which combine international cooking methods.

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Amuse-bouche: Blood Pudding | Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

We tried the tasting menu from back in March, so if you’re planning to book a meal, be sure to check the most updated menu available (as they are regularly updated). We had the weekday seven-course lunch (HK$1,080), but if you’re visiting for dinner, the 8-10 course dinner tasting menu is priced at HK$1,280.


After a refreshing glass of Brazilian sparkling wine to start, we had the Amuse-bouche, which isn’t usually available on the menu—it was a cold-served Blood Pudding, sprinkled with an assortment of spices. The flavoursome dish was displayed in a traditional, handmade pottery bowl, and our waiter explained that Mono sources their pottery from a woman in Spain, where her work is influenced by the ocean.

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Hokkaido Scallops | Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Our menu comprised a lot of flavours from the sea. Next, we had the fresh Hokkaido Scallops, wrapped in paper-thinly sliced Provence asparagus, topped with refreshing cream and finger lime. The scallops were soft and plump, whilst the earthy asparagus made an enticing contrast.

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Sourdough Bread with Quinoa and Olive Oil | Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

One of the signature favourites, the Quinoa Sourdough Bread, is baked in-house everyday, made from a two-month mother dough and three types of quinoa (white, black and red). The dish comes with fine extra-virgin olive oil, sourced from the artisan Eva Aguiler in Catalunya. Only 900 litres of the oil is produced each year, as it uses premium handpicked, organic Arbequina olives, which can only be harvested during the full moon in early November to ensure its purity in taste.

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Nova Scotia Lobster served with Fava Beans and Lobster Head Broth | Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Another scrumptious seafood dish, the Nova Scotia Lobster is served with Fava Beans and Lobster Head Broth, a rich and succulent pairing, which expertly complements one another, without being overpowering.

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Corvina Fish | Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

The tender Corvina fish meat contrasts the crispy pan-fried skin, paired with eggplant topped with Madras curry. On the side? Caviar, of course.

Caviar | Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Paying tribute to premium seafood, and its fine dining concept, a generous pot of indulgent caviar is served with the pan-fried Corvina fish. The smooth and nutty flavour from the caviar lends a complementary touch to the crispy fish.

French Quail | Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Taking a French-meets-South American twist, the rich French Quail is stuffed with plump olives and drizzled with quail jus to enhance its flavour. On the side, the chef cooks up Yuca, a woody shrub native to South America of the spurge family, trickled with aromatic Mojo marinade. The pairing makes a unique feat, served on an earthy plate, and showcases Chef Chaneton’s solid French culinary skills with his Latin American roots.

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Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

To top off the meal, we had the Gariguette Strawberry, a light sweet treat, with a cup of traditional tea to help digestion.

mono jia group mr ping cha siu papers times

Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Overall


Serving as a tribute to fine craftsmanship, and Chef Chaneton’s nostalgic roots, Mono takes a refreshing spin on typical French fine dining eateries. The dishes are inspired by his background in Latin American fare, yet uses classic French cooking techniques to capture the appetites of modern gourmands. Having a seasonal tasting menu brings a new experience with every visit, meaning the restaurant will pride itself on consistency in quality, perfected in every seasonal dish. We very much enjoyed watching the live cooking display from the chef’s counter, a rare feature for restaurants, and with the creativity and tools to cook up some of the most innovative dishes in town, we expect that Mono will become a regular for most city dwellers.

Mono, 5/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2506 8676, mono.hk