Having momentum is important — feeling inspired. This must be what Gaggan Anand is experiencing right now. Born in Kolkota, India, where he started his culinary career, later moving to Bangkok — he was the first Indian chef to be part of the famous Ferran Adrià’s research team at el Bulli. After working in several restaurants in Bangkok, Gaggan decided to open his own restaurant "Gaggan" in December of 2010, serving progressive indian cuisine in Bangkok.
The restaurant is located in what appears to be a colonial house with a very "homey" and comfortable feeling.
The meal starts off with several interesting small bites and a drink. It's full force from the beginning with flavours that truly engages the palette. Spices and textures are used in exciting combinations. Editable bags of nuts, yogurt explosions (it's like putting a soft-boiled egg in your mouth) and a chilly chocolate bomb. It's playfull, both in presentations and in flavour.
The bite of Bengali Mustard & Nori Pakoda still lingers on in the mouth. Amazing mouthfeel and intense mustard taste. We don't know what something will taste when we eat it, and there's flavour here that we've never tasted before (which is a sensation we love to get).
Anands "playfulness" is perhaps best showcased in a savoury macaron titled "Brain Damage" with a cream from goat’s brain... we're a little put off, but yes — it tastes good!
The dish of Fukuoka Surprise is really beautiful, and as the name suggests clearly inspired by Japan. With a taste of melon, white asparagus, green chilli and seaweed it's a rather complex creation and a fascinating dish.
The dish titled "Magic Mushrooms" is a beautiful creation of truffles & mushrooms that tastes heavenly. We want to scrape up everything there is on the plate.
We are asked to guess what really comprises the dish that's made to look like real "charcoal". It has a very pleasant crust and a moist inside of fish and potatoes. Great way to engage the customer in the meal.
Even in the midst of all the creativity and explosion of flavours, the restaurant still adheres to its roots within indian cuisine. Several dishes simply tastes like heavenly versions of indian classics. The trick is in the perfect seasoning, and the perfect handling of the produce. This is evident in "Who Killed the Goat?" (which is actually lamb ;) and the crescendo of the evening "I want my curry!!!", as obviously no visit to an indian restaurant is fulfilled without a delicious curry. Traditional Naan-bread together with two different types of curries, perfectly seasoned. When we're asked if we want some more, the both of us quickly says "yes, of course!".
Gaggan walks around the tables and chats with everyone. He sure has a fantastic personality! As he makes pretty much every table he visit burst out in laughter. It hits us that it would've been fantastic to have a bit more of that from the servers and staff as well. Everyone is professional and does a great job, but in comparison to Gaggan's "loud and proud" mesmerising personality, maybe some more "Indian charm" could go a long way even from the staff. Though, we remember that we're actually in Bangkok and not in India...
The deserts feel very pleasant after a parade of flavour from all the dishes before. Even the less desert-loving of the two of us appreciate the tastes and textures provided (and a bit of theatre). The popping candy hidden inside the ice-cream "lollipop" makes it hard to not draw a smile (even if it's been done many times before).
As we think back on the dishes we've had, and starts to ask ourselves about our favorites, we can actually remember almost every dish, which is rather rare. Everything was very tasty, and had its own distinct flavours — it was definitively not one note! We were challenged with new flavours, textures and improved versions of dishes that we knew, we felt as if we were getting progressive indian cuisine.
As we have a further chat with Gaggan we can see his personality filling the small kitchen with excitement. He isn't just inspired — he's inspiring to be around.