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25 bites to change your mind about what have you ever known about Indian food, and learn what definitely is gourmet cuisine.
Curry isn’t Indian. Neither is chicken tikka masala, nor spice mixes. They are not typical Indian dishes, and that is why in the best restaurant in Asia and the best Indian restaurant in the world, they are not served.
Gaggan Anand is revolutionizing Indian cuisine as we (mistakenly) thought it was until today. In doing so, he has given it a new life by transforming it into a contemporary, gourmet, molecular experience. Utilizing his experience from an internship at El Bulli under chef Ferran Adrià in the golden years, Anand did something never done before: applying modern techniques to Indian comfort food. He marked a new era for his native cuisine and all those chefs who deal with the food that we call “ethnic”.
Dining at Gaggan is like a journey that takes you around India, throughout his life, back in time before British colonization, and far ahead, to the future world of “Yogurt Explosion” – where yogurt, a traditional drink in India, is transformed by the “spherication” technique.
You can tell from the success, interviews, but especially from the one-month-long waiting list and the comings and goings of cars and people in this tiny side street in Bangkok, this will not be simply a great dinner, but much more.
When you’re born poor in Calcutta, India, your life can only go uphill – especially if you aim at becoming the best chef in your own country. In fact, Gaggan, never returned to India. Exactly 10 years after the opening of his eponymous restaurant in Thailand, with three active awards in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and the 7th in the 2017 world rankings, he has already set a new goal: closing the Bangkok restaurant and moving to Japan by 2020. Meanwhile, he isn’t stopping and is continuing to evolve his cuisine, risking everything instead of just hanging out and enjoying the results.
The Gaggan menu is unique: a tasting of 25 bites, characterized by 25 emojis. Too many? Well, according to the chef, if Pink Floyd can do a 20-minute-long song without boring people, he can showcase his progressive cuisine for three hours (which is anything but dull). A rollercoaster of flavours, guest encounter a unique menu without any classical sequence from mild to strong, nor wine pairings – it would be impossible with all these aromas.
The first dozen bites are offered as finger food: from edible plastic bags, to 100% aubergine biscuits, nigiri, innovative taco versions, chocolate pralines that conceal a unique spiciness and matcha tea without the matcha ingredient – all served quickly. The sequence then slows down and cutlery appears along with dishes inspired by the curry concept (its scent, taste, smell, but never precisely that) to finally get to the dessert.
A spectacular dinner, especially if you sit in the new LAB – the space with a horseshoe table and open kitchen where a dozen lucky guests can eat alongside the chef. Like true theatrical entertainment, every one of Gaggan’s dishes becomes a personal tale, a historical anecdote, a raging river which tells the history of India and gastronomical fusion leading to the emergence of dishes that represent Indian cuisine without even being born there.
This is the place to be in Bangkok.