gaggan -22When we think of eating in Bangkok everything comes to mind, since great restaurants like Nahm (see) or the famous street food where it is possible to eat the most traditional and authentic food Thailand has to offer, but, why not Indian food? Many will think we’re crazy or disoriented. But the sure thing is that the young chef of 36 years old, Gaggan Anand put his “Indian restaurant” on the top of the world, and is nowadays number 3 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and seventeenth in the World guide, a great doing for an Indian restaurant that opened its doors in 2010, that being reason enough to deserve a visit.

gaggan -2Gaggan ddoesn’tcook tradition, instead studies it in a progressive way, so he likes to call his cuisine. Truthfully, the chef spent some time in the famous El Bulli, under the command of Ferran Adrià, his great inspiration and his master, who certainly didn’t give him the recipes for him to recreate, but as a true master, equipped him with an armory of techniques and methods that Gaggan decided to apply in one of the most antique and traditional cuisines.

But leaving the gastronomical philosophy and on to the meal, the restaurant, located in a narrow ally next to the commercial area of town transmits a good vibe already from the outside, a classic house, white, with a small lake contrasting with the neon and the skyscrapers around. In the interior, a minimalist decoration with white dominating and tables arranged in several small rooms that give us the privacy needed. The small library is very interesting with all the main bibliographic references of the modern gastronomy.

gaggan -21 Coconut Lassi 

Happily we were installed in a table next to the kitchen window, starting our dinner in a truly magical and theatrical environment.

gaggan -20After choosing the menu, the beverage choice went first to the cocktails, specialty of the house, where of course, molecular gastronomy scores some points. The first cocktail, a fake coconut Lassi, without the yogurt, but instead Malibu, fava tonka, a bit of milk and coconut water, had an extremely interesting result, with the contrast of textures and the correct balance between the sweet and the alcohol. The second, a cocktail with its basis on cucumber, basil and gin, with an amazing acidity, working very well with the dishes.

The first dish consists of a series of small snacks inspired in street food, being the first a mango sorbet with fresh mango and ikura that while not being as interesting as the following, was a good way of awakening our taste buds.

gaggan -18             gaggan -15             gaggan -17We started with the yogurt and spices sphere, an excellent combination between texture, sweet, sour and salty with a flavor that reminds a dahi papdi chaat (traditional Indian dish with yogurt and a characteristic “chaat” seasoning). Followed by the small bag of rice paper with spicy dried fruits, with highlight to the spicy note of the wasabi, an interesting play, certainly inspired in the bags of chana jor garam (dried fruits appetizer). Next, a chocolate Pani Puri, a thin white chocolate bonbon, filled with herb water, slightly spicy and covered with a silver leaf. A weird combination that resulted pretty well.

gaggan -12             gaggan -14             gaggan -13Meanwhile appears a beautiful potato snack, with a combination of liquid and crunchy potato, for sure inspired a the birds nest. Technically irreprehensible, showing all the attributes of Gaggan’s cuisine, a small snack that certainly takes a lot of time to be ready and 5 seconds to taste. Moving on to the Bengali mustard and noori snack, with a texture and flavor reminding cheese. Following a “classic” Papadam with tomato chutney, here made with dehydrated tapioca pearls, quite crunchy with a great tomato chutney.

gaggan -11keema pao

To finish up, a Keema Pao, some kind of mini burgers, made with lamb curry, which in my opinion could replace 90% of the minced meat we find at the you know what places.

At the end of this first moment, the expectations I brought with me were already past due and elevated for the following dishes.

gaggan -10Say Cheese, hot 4 cheeses soufflé, crispy rice cereals and green chili oil

The strong flavor of the cheeses gains contrast when we taste all the elements in the bowl, particularly with the freshness of the tomato. An interesting dish, in which the connection to India is less obvious than in the first dishes.

gaggan -9Sandwich, Foie gras mousse, onion water baguette, onion chutney and hazelnut candy

One of the dishes that receives more “wows!” during its explanation, the idea is simple, a foie mousse in a bread with onion and dried fruits, the question is that the bread is made with onion and isn’t more than a combination of an air and a meringue. A light “bread” and also surprising, in a great combination. Once again, nothing reminds us of India, but the inclusion of the Foie gras should be mandatory in almost every cuisine.

gaggan -8Down to Earth, asparagus, morels,  artichoke and 62 ºC egg with truffle air and chili

An elegant mushroom soup, elevated by the truffle aroma and by the egg (that should be a little less cooked for the said 62ºC). A dish true to its name, with an intense and delicate flavor.

gaggan -7Charcoal

And here comes to the table a dish which the only description is charcoal. Campanula lifted and after the intense smoke aroma, we were in front of a piece of “charcoal”, crunchy and probably made with resource to herbs and dehydrated vegetables. In the interior also a surprise, since no one tells us what we were eating, I would say it must have been a combination of fish with potato puree and quite Indian spices (?). A funny dish and tasty at the same time.

gaggan -6River King, Grilled prawn with tandoor and curry leaf infusion and mango chutney

Prawn seasoned with the classic tandoori masala that gives it the red tone, grilled on spot, without the seasoning being overpowering, also being possible to taste the sweetness and succulence of the seafood, besides some brilliant smoky notes. Very good.

gaggan -5Angry Bird, country thai chicken curry Chettinad style with idiyappam noodles and steamed cooked rice

The most Indian and traditional of all the presented dishes, resulted in a brilliant curry, with a great texture game, from the steamed rice to the very soft chicken meat (cooked at low temperature) and the fried noodles. A dish with the right amount of spicy and a memorable explosion of flavors. Gaggan proves he’s more than a scientist of the Indian cuisine.

gaggan -4Made in JapanMatcha tea cake, mascarpone cream, vanilla salt and fresh wasabi

A dessert made for me, light, elegant and little sweet. Travelling from India to japan, with a stop in Italy, the chef created his own version of a Tiramisu in a great combination of matcha and wasabi (which gave it some spice and a bitter note) with the mascarpone. Excellent.

gaggan -3Magnum, inspired in the famous ice cream

The resemblance with the famous ice cream is few (none to be sincere) but the idea is there, a small ice cream covered with chocolate, light flavors for a funny ending. Like the small lollipop that is given to children in the end of the meals, where even the petazetas where not forgotten. An end that perfectly represented a meal at Gaggan, a true gastronomic game for open minded adults.

We accompanied our meal very well with the amazing cocktails of molecular influence prepared by the Spanish barman and with a modest Chardonnay of Robert Mondavi.

The Service works in a fine dining casual way, with lots of accuracy and detail but also with great fun like the restaurant and its menu require. As I said we stayed next to the glass with a view to the kitchen, with all the prepping zones thoroughly separated and the teams well-orchestrated. With a completely full house the kitchen worked harmoniously nothing like Hell’s Kitchen and Gordon Ramsey’s. Curious to see Gaggan awakening the interest of many young cooks, with a team of various nationalities.

Final Remarks
Eating at Gaggan, and similar to the most avant gard restaurants from the Spanish school, is much more than the simple act of eating and being served. First we must be able to get a table, hard task in almost every restaurant in the 50 Best Restaurants list, and then we have the expectations with a “progressive Indian cuisine” and after that, the best part, the experience itself. As to what concerns me and as to my experience, there were very high moments and some less interesting ones like its usual in a long menu. The quality of the products, the technique and creativity are very strong points that make me say that besides eating well, I had fun, discovered new flavors, tasted combinations I didn’t thought possible and smiled genuinely several times during the bites. And that’s the cuisine of Chef Gaggan, more than progressive Indian it’s a cuisine that stirs emotions. In the end, I left with the feeling I just had one of the best meals of 2014, the best of our trip to Bangkok and with the idea of soon returning to see how far this young talent and his restaurant will go.

68/1 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road, Lumpini, Bangkok
(662) 652 1700

Flavors & Senses in Thailand with the support of Emirates


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