Bangkok, April 2017 – Dinner at Gaggan (#1 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant 2016 and #7 World’s 50 Best Restauant 2017) was a whimsical dining experience filled with surprises. The menu of 25 courses was depicted with emoji figures. Our friendly waitress kept us guessing about the ingredients in each course.
Chef Gaggan Anand’s creations are elevated modern Indian Street food, so an abundance of spices are expected in his cooking. The presentation of each course was meticulously thought out and each dramatic in its own way.
Out of the 25 courses, Mr. King and I especially enjoyed these:
Chili Bonbon – The blend of red chili pepper juice inside the white chocolate bonbon was an ingenious combination. It wasn’t spicy at all, but sweet and creamy.
Tomato Tea Ceremony – The demonstration done by Gaggan’s executive chef was quite fun to watch, and the resulting tomato tea was sweet and reminded me of gazpacho.
Pork Vindaloo – Gaggan turned this very popular curry dish into an Indian version of Japanese tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlets). Iberico pork was used in this deep fried dish, and the meat was extremely tender. The Vindaloo element was really just the topping of 3 droplets of curry.
Sake Rice Crisp with Foie Gras Mousse – The dainty canapé looked like a small dessert. The foie gras mousse was sandwiched between very thin Sake Rice Crisp, topped with an edible flower. Proportion was just right. The foie gras was not too heavy but just enough for one to feel indulged.
Tandoori Quail – The quail was marinated with masala and served with pineapple chutney. We have tasted plenty of tandoori chicken before, but the quail was juicier and more flavorful. This was our favorite course.
Seabass – A sizeable piece of sea bass fillet was wrapped inside the cedar bay root leave before being grilled over charcoal. The fish was very moist and delicious. The green masala and green mustard rub was the perfect seasoning for the fish.
Hot Dog – This miniature hot dog was actually lamb shish kebab – slightly spicy. Who would expect a hot dog on the menu of an Indian restaurant?!
Chawamushi – There is quite a bit of Japanese influence in Gaggan’s cooking. This chawamushi was a three-layer concoction – egg custard at the top, crab curry in the middle and rice at the bottom. The waitress advised us to mix up all three layers before eating…it was quite a rich dish. This dish is the closest to Indian curry that Gaggan currently serves.
Basil Chocolate – This dessert was like a beautiful scenery. The paper butterfly was edible, but too pretty to eat. The concept of basil sponge cake, lemon mousse and chili ice cream was adventurous. However, I personally found the chili ice cream odd. I also overheard – fellow diners giving the same comment to the waitress.
Strawberry Tart – Though the desserts were probably not as “interesting” as the appetizers and main courses, I found this strawberry tart especially noteworthy. The jelly at the top was refreshing, the crust was very crunchy and custard was creamy smooth. I actually wanted another piece of this!
The Yogurt Explosion (Masala inside) and Daishi Meringue reminded of my experience at TICKETS (the Barcelona tapas bar created by Alberto Adria). Given that Chef Gaggan Anand had a stint at El Bulli (the former World’s #1 Restaurant helmed by the Adria brothers), I could see how his style maybe influenced by his mentors.
The dining experience at Gaggan was an extraordinary culinary journey. Chef Gaggan has singlehandedly reimagined and redefined progressive Indian cuisine.
Gaggan announced that it will close down their Bangkok location in 2020 and move to Fukuoka, Japan. At 4,000 Baht (appr. US$100+) per person, it is probably one of the most reasonably priced restaurants amongst the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
GAGGAN – 68/1 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road, Lumpini, Bangkok 10330
All photos were taken by Mrs. King.