Imagine stepping into a whimsical world where all of your senses & taste buds are tested and your love for Indian food transforms as your perception for this cuisine changes in amazing ways. Gaggan restaurant, based in Bangkok Thailand, is a meal I will never forget now that I’ve been able to not only grow to love the flavors of India but see dishes as works of art.
In 2016 the Chef's Table star, Chef Gaggan Anand, made headlines with his decision to close Gaggan in 2020. It’s an unusual move for a restaurant that held the top spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for three years running and is a safe bet to land a spot on the first Michelin Guide for Bangkok in December. “I hate to be predictable, so I need to take this break,” Anand tells Eater.
Below are the 25 reasons to make sure you experience Gaggan Restaurant before it moves to a much smaller intimate setting in Japan. Every few months the menu is tweaked a bit, so it may not exactly mirror the reasons bellows, but expect a memorable, magical dining experience in a unique hundred year old wooden house.
Pink Elderflower and Watermelon: The experience begins with a watermelon icon. As the anticipation builds, you begin to wonder what you’re going to be served for the evening. A huge salt black is delivered with a pile of rock salt placed on top. Delicately nestled in the salt are bright pink colored elements inside, what looks like an oyster shell. Once you bit into this, you quickly realize how your evening it going to be. Flavorful. Shocking. Surprising. More importantly…always pleasant. This bite is a mix of pink elderflower puree mixed with watermelon beads and the shell has a light sweet flavor.
Yogurt Explosion: This element was probably the one that lacked the beauty. Served in a silver spoon, you take this gelatin-like element and shuck it back like an oyster. This smooth creamy texture quickly explodes in your mouth with a Indian-infused yogurt flavor. The flavor is absolutely great, but the texture feels a bit odd.
Lick It Up Mushroom Peas: Now that we were settled into the experience, things start to get weird! Everyone was handed a plate and given simple instructions. We were not to use any utensils or our hands. Our task was to lick the flavors on the plate. With a mix of mushroom, pea and spicy components, it’s apparent that Gaggan restaurant is playful, fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Tom Yum Kung: Who loved Tom Yum soup and prawns? We definitely do! However, the way they serve this dish is out of this world. Deep frying the head of the prawn and then creating a Tom Yum ice-cream to simulate the body of the prawn creates one-bite that has all of the flavors of Tom Yum soup, the cold temperature of an ice cream with a crunch of a prawn. You have to try this one to really believe how amazing it was.
Goat Brain Flower Power: It was probably best we did not know the exact ingredients of the dish, but was definitely one of the flavors on the top of our list. Shaped like a flower, this was one of our first curry-flavored dishes. A simple bite with a creamy texture, was easily something we could have eaten more of.
Eggplant Cookie: It was such a delectable bite, perfectly curated for the 5 hours of preparation needed to make a soft sponge like texture with a sweet onion chutney layer in its middle. When you put it in your mouth, it just melts away like a savory cotton candy.
Chilly Bon Bon: Imagine biting into a white chocolate bon bon and then getting a savory, slightly spicy treat. That’s exactly what this was. It was such a pleasant surprise & bite that satisfied my sweet and savory tooth.
Idly Sambhar: A light airy bight that practically evaporates in your mouth, this creation was beautifully presented and thoroughly enjoyed. It's like eating a flavorful cloud. And the leaf on top, which is edible, looks so life like, you're almost afraid to eat it.
Banana Chicken Liver: A relatively new creation of the restaurant, this was an unexpected pleasant surprise how well the flavors complimented each other. The sesame base added well needed texture. Don't be fooled by the name or combination, this moment is one of the best!
Fish Granola: The most and remarkably delicious pieces. If I could I would have this every day to kickstart my day. The use fish to create a granola bar. Once you bite into it you only really taste granola with soft hints of fish. Another moment in the meal where you're thinking...this is an experience I won't forget!
Gin Tonic Cucumber: Stupidly amazing, sea urchin bite sized cone. Melt in your mouth fantastic. And how it was presented is also amazing. Just pop the whole cone into your mouth and devour the taste of sea urhin.
Chutord Sushi: Beautiful tuna with a surprise dollop of flavor explosion. What was even neater was when they walked away showing us the amazing piece of fish they were going to cut up to serve us. It was so fresh and you felt like they just caught it hours before for our meal.
Foie Gras Yuzu Carrot: This was another moment where we took a step back and said "what!?". They ask you to hold out the palm of your hand and then they spray it. You then get a unique piece of food in the palm of your hand. You then that this most scrumptious bite of smooth powerful flavors and toss it into your mouth. The aroma of your hand mixed with the flavors of this dish definitely stand out.
Green Vegetable Matcha: A palate cleanser that was a bit too green for our taste buds but the preparation was fun to watch. I will say, the presentation was much more fun than the taste, but if this was the worse thing on the dish, then I think we're in good hands here.
Pork Vindaloo: I wanted to ask for 10 more of these savory bites. It was so meaty and delicious on the inside with a unique, flavorful coating on the outside.
Scallop Uncooked Curry: Nice presented and bursting with flavor. We were given this perfect dish and told to destroy it and mix it up to ensure we captured every flavor during ever bite. We took the orders and tore into this and it was simply delicious!
Sheek Kabab Mango Chutney: Firm believer more food should be on a stick. It was served as if it was growing out of the plants. Then we were instructed to remove it to eat it, however one of the leaves was actually edible. On the right in the image, you'll see how life like the leaf was.
Thai Green Curry: Simple wins here! Looks can be deceiving as this had immense flavor with the dollops of green curry. It had all the flavors of the curry and the crunch of a cracker. At this point you realize, the meals will be ending soon. We were also getting tipsy at this point, so the fun was getting stronger and stronger with the new friends we made around us.
Seabass Bengali Mustard: This piece of fish was wrapped in a banana leaf and charred in front of us, the seabass was perfectly cooked and the experience lifted to another level. We had to unwrap the banana leaf to expose a perfectly cooked piece of fresh fish. It was so simple and needed at this point in the meal.
Charcoal Lotus Stem: Although it doesn’t look so pretty, this was rather delicious. When you bit into this hush puppy-like piece of food, it was filled with a warm mixture that satisfied the taste buds and made me fall in love with lotus stem.
Lobster Dosa: Soft wrap with explosion of flavor the lobster was cooked just right and the perfect way to end the savory section. Who doesn't love a taco! The fresh big chunks of lobster, mixed with this exotic sauce and homemade tortilla was amazing. We could have had many more of these things!
Beetroot Rose: Almost too beautiful to eat, but we ate it anyways! This is where we starting getting into the sweeter portion of the meal. Everything served with a purpose and every as delicious as the last.
Milk Cake Riesling Muscat: Simply irresistible and paired so nicely with our dessert wine. When you bit into this cold piece, it was ice cream and ice like on the inside. You almost felt bad ruining this beautiful flower-shaped dessert.
Lemon Cheesecake: thankfully more food on a stick, this was a fun take on cheesecake and highly enjoyable. Imagine a minion staring you directly in the face and almost laughing at you and screaming “Eat Me!”. This experience was delightful!
Mango Saffron Ghewar: Soft and flavorful, an ending of pure delight. We also loved how it was served! They have us this box, almost like a parting gift. When we opened it we had one last piece of dessert to savor and eat.
Food art can be found anywhere! Whenever you have a great meal, savor the moment but also ensure you take nice pictures of them! Learn how here.