After a recommendation from instafoodie friend It’d_be_rude_not_to , Gaggan was on our list of places to visit in Bangkok. We were lucky enough to secure a table at this acclaimed restaurant, rated the best in Asia and # 7 in the world in 2017 by Restaurant. It is described as progressive Indian, and we felt it was infused with other Asian influences. Make sure you book ahead of visiting as it is well sought after. Having read mixed reviews which is usually the case online, we went in with an open mind and a hungry stomach. Our booking was 9:30 pm which is pretty normal in Bangkok.
Our driver missed the unassuming entrance to Gaggan, with a small lit up sign the only give away, so make sure you’re on the lookout. We walked to the entrance down a long dark driveway and at the end stood a well lit two storey converted cottage painted white, with pained glass windows and doors, an out door garden and water feature which was extremely picturesque.
We are met by the wait staff and led to our table up stairs. Once seated the staff introduced themselves and provided us with the wine list. On the table, the glassware and tableware, a cold refresher towel and transparent strip of paper printed with 25 emoji’s representing the bites to be served for the evening, which was explained by the waitress. Whilst 25 does sounds like alot, however as a hungry diner, amount of food was spot on. Each dish was a bite sized piece, and paced out it was completely apt. Whilst it is clear this would be a mountain of work for the kitchen to prepare, given the molecular gastronomy techniques being displayed with each dish, each dish arrived presented impeccably and with precise timing as to the dishes received by other diners. This alone is impressive!
The restaurant is nicely set up, with white linen and staff in generic black and white, not unlike any other fine dining restaurant. We liked the vibe to this place, the staff displaying whimsical humour which complemented the playful menu and food arriving at the table.
The meal started on a high note with a large pink salt block arriving at the table with what looked to be an oyster. We gathered the oyster was paired with water melon going by the first emoji on the list. We were amazed when it was confirmed the oyster shell was edible and no oyster present. This dish was like nothing you could imagine, with an opaque purple edible pearl on top.
We’re not going to outline each dish on the menu, that would spoil the fun for your visit, we will outline some notable dishes for us.
The tom yum kung which was a cold tom yum puree served in a crisp rice paper and prawn head shell, the vindaloo beef croquette had a nice crisp panko crumb for texture and rich slow cooked vindaloo inside, the cold scallop curry was another stand out.
We also really enjoyed the eggplant cookie and the carrot waffles filled with froi gras and yuzu chutney.
There were two firsts for our dining experience, with one dish called ‘lick it up’ which came in with it’s own 80’s rock theme song which was cool. This dehydrated mushroom dish also inscribed with ‘lick it up’ in green pea puree. This led diners to having to lick it off the plate like a dog. Quite funny to look around the restaurant at this time.
The fire portion of the menu was an amazing spectacle, the waiter taking to a wooden tray with a blow torch setting the banana leaf outer layer on fire. At one point I was thinking this would not fly in Australia due to OH&S or some fire safety regulation. But this is Thailand and what visitors love are a lack of over restrictive measures and a care free attitude, with a little sprinkle of danger thrown in. We wait for the embers to clear and unwrap the outer banana leaf and inside a melt in your mouth piece of sea bass.
The desserts were all presented nicely and our favourite would have to be the beetroot and chocolate rose which came to the table in a box that looked like a book. Coincidentally the title of the book including our surname. The minion wasabi ice cream on a stick also added a bit of fun to the meal. The other desserts while nicely presented didn’t really do it for us.
Other than a dodgy bathroom, this was an interesting and enjoyable experience. The crockery was as impressive as the skill involved in preparing this degustation. The food hit the mark for the most part, as to be expected with a 25 course meal there were going to be some items that didn’t suit our taste.
Is it worth the price tag? Yes. Given there were 25 courses of intricately prepared food that hit the table in our two hour seating, which was an impressive feat and the work involved is nothing to sneeze at.