My favorite dining experience in Thailand was at Gaggan, a modern Indian restaurant in Bangkok. Gaggan recently climbed to #7 on the World’s 50 Best list, and the chef was featured on the Netflix series Chef’s Table.
We had a new tasting menu, introduced just 15 days prior to our dinner. The menu was unique among its class because of the bite-sized focus – 25 mini courses to be exact. With the growing length of tasting menus these days, the smaller portions were refreshing. Though after 25 bites I was still stuffed and left half the later courses unfinished (though I downed all the dessert of course!).
Diners are given an emoji menu with no writing at the start of the meal. Our servers purposefully left out ingredients in their verbal descriptions of each course. This added to the playful feel of the meal and left us guessing at the unique Indian-inspired flavors.
At the conclusion, the main ingredients were revealed and some, like goat brain, were complete blindsides! While not all the flavors were a hit with me, I appreciated the creativity of each dish. There was just one true “dud” – the tuna sushi was unacceptably stringy and chewy.
The front of house was somewhat disappointing given the caliber of the restaurant. Water glasses weren’t refilled unless asked. Our server had a fun sense of humor, but he wasn’t very attentive or engaging. Food descriptions were short, and he wasn’t too familiar with ingredients and kitchen techniques. To be fair, the meal was designed to be purposefully vague until the end. Total meal time was 2.5 hours.
The technicality and creativity reflect Chef Gaggan’s training at the legendary elBulli restaurant. I loved the incorporation of Indian spices with modern gastronomy. The flavors were fairly intense, and could be off-putting for some, but I was a fan overall.
Chef Gaggan recently announced plans to close his Bangkok restaurant in 2020, so book while you can!