Inside fashion designer Humberto Leon’s new Hong Kong-inspired restaurant in LA

Humberto Leon is no stranger to pivots. Known for his work with Opening Ceremony and Kenzo, in 2020 he teamed up with his family to open Chifa, a restaurant in LA that serves Chinese, Peruvian and Taiwanese food. Now, with the opening of Monarch, everyone’s focus is primarily on Hong Kong.

Located in the San Gabriel Valley, Monarch is an ode to both modern and traditional Hong Kong. Like Chifa, she is inspired by Leon’s mother “Popo” Wendy Leon, who lived in Hong Kong until her 20s and brought local cuisine with her when she moved to Peru and then the Los Angeles area. Here, Leon’s brother-in-law John Liu is tasked with translating that history into Monarch’s menu, adding some dishes from his own Taiwanese background.

More from the Robb Report

“I think the beauty of Hong Kong,” Leon said Los Angeles Times“is that it almost has its own cuisine, rather than just Cantonese, because of the variety of people who have come through [the city].”

The menu will include items like the sweet and sour pork belly in a sticky sweet sauce that Leon and his sister Rica grew up eating. Chinese-influenced steak tartare with snow cabbage and chilli chips is served with prawn chips, while a silky poached egg is topped with fish liver. Heartier dishes include roast pork-inspired ragu over fresh egg noodles and braised leg of lamb in tomato curry.

The new restaurant is certainly in conversation with Chifa, drawing on similar design cues and even some menu items. Chifa has become known for collaborating with artists, and the Trinity Prawn Fried Rice, which she collaborated on with Solange, will become a permanent part of the Monarch menu.

On the beverage side, Liu and Rico’s son, Jarod Wang, has created a cocktail program that will include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, in collaboration with LA-based Optimist Botanicals. The coffee is brewed from hand-roasted beans and several different types of tea will also be offered: oolong, pu-erh and flower tea.

“We’re definitely going to take our tea pretty seriously, but in a fun way,” Leon said L.A. Times. “Sometimes I feel that serious tea can be too serious; we’re not trying to give you a three-hour tea service, just a delicious cup.’

Due to Leon’s design background, the restaurant will also have some nice merch in addition to the culinary offerings. You will be able to purchase Monarch branded t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, metal lunch box, water bottle, portable cooler/folding chair and stickers. Some items will be decorated with a butterfly motif, while others will indicate its location in the San Gabriel Valley.

This hometown pride is perhaps the most important part for Leon, which is why he returned to the city to become a local restaurateur alongside his family.

Opening Jan. 14, Monarch will serve dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. He plans to expand to include lunches and possibly other days of service.

Click here to view all of Monarch’s photos.

Subscribe to the Robb Report newsletter. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news.

Click here to read the full article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *