The two Asian fine dining restaurants Gaggan and Eight Tables both made my Top 3 Restaurant’s of 2017. How cool to see them come together for this fun popup charity dinner! This event supported Chef’s for Change. Good food for a good cause? Gotta love these win wins.
We were served a condensed version of Chef Gaggan Anand’s iconic emoji tasting menu, paired with wine and sake. Compared to my dinner last year at Gaggan Bangkok, the amount of food this time was more manageable and the flavors better overall. The vibe was also quite different than either of my prior experiences with the two restaurants. Chef Anand introduced each course with a fun story, there was loud music blaring in the background, and service seemed much more carefree. The communal tables also made for a fun and social evening.
Gaggan sommelier Vladamir made sure the wine and sake were flowing all night. I especially enjoyed the funky natural wines. I had a little too much fun and felt it the next day. Starting the night off with three glasses of champagne was my downfall, whoops!
The first bite was the Gaggan classic of yogurt spherification, spiced with chaat masala.
Next up was Lick It Up, a dish that introduced the nearly utensil-free theme of the menu.
Following this was a series of flavor-packed small bites combining Indian spices with other Asian flavors. Of note was a deliciously elevated pani puri (Puchka Secret Curry) and ‘Som Tam’ – an ice cream cone that was meant to evoke Thai papaya salad.
After these bites were the heavier courses, starting with a quail duo.
The cold scallop curry was one of my favorite dishes. I’m not sure I’ve had cold curry before, but it absolutely worked with the extra soft, raw scallop texture.
The pork vindaloo momo had good flavor, though the black garlic dumpling skin was too doughy and thick.
The lamb chop was tender and had minimal gamey flavor, which I preferred.
In Bangkok, the banana leaf wrapped fish was one of my favorite dishes. On this night, the dish was probably the only dud. The fish was overcooked and dry, though the Begali curry was still delicious.
The deceptively plain ‘Main Course’ was my favorite of the night. The blue crab curry over rice hit all the layers of complexity, while also evoking those simple comfort food feelings. Blue crab is also my favorite crab by far, and it was nice to see this over the much more common dungeness crab on the west coast.
Closing out the menu were two desserts. The Flower Power was not too memorable, while The Dark Side of the Moon was one of the most memorable desserts I’ve seen. Colorful splatters of fruit sauce and a triangle truffle were plated like the Pink Floyd album cover. This was also a ‘lick it up’ experience.
After the last course, we were given personalized chopsticks from Eight Tables. My first time dining here, I got black chopsticks (still my go to chopstick at home!), though they weren’t personalized.
Along with the chopsticks was a new emoiji menu with the fun course names revealed. I was surprised to see no goat brain this time!
After the kitchen tour, we received a bag of Eight Tables and China Live treats. My tipsy self devoured the cookies and granola on the ride home, and both were quite good, especially the almond granola with goji berries. I’m waiting for the right moment to break into that chili sauce!
As much as I enjoyed this experience, I was hoping for more incorporation of Eight Tables’ Chinese flavors into the tasting menu. I look forward to going back to Eight Tables for my fine dining Chinese fix!