Gaggan the person equals Gaggan the restaurant. For years his restaurant has defined restaurants in Thailand and put Bangkok on the map as a food destination. With his big personality as the catalyst.
This would be my first time at any of his restaurants and to be fair I was a bit nervous. I always say that flavor comes first and everything else is second, but you don’t have to read more than a few lines of the review of Gaggan to know that an evening at Gaggan is not just about delicious food its about everything else.
The new restaurant is a counter restaurant with room for 14 people all looking at the kitchen which in Gaggan equals the stage from where you will see the nights performance. To call it a restaurant is a bit misleading. For me a better description is that it is a performance or you could call it dinner and show.
The menu consists of of about 20 dishes/snacks and between dishes you have the show. The show consists of everything from a normal presentation of a dish to choreographed theater where Gaggan and his staff prepare the dishes like it was theater with changed lighting and music. Sometimes a dish is about capturing the mood or feeling from a piece of music and other times Gaggan takes a political view which could be the misguided use of the term sustainability to the very idea of finedining.
The entire show takes a little less than 3 hours and it is a show with planned bathroom breaks and everything. During these 3 hours you are at the mercy of Gaggan and his team like if you are in the military. You eat when they tell you to eat, you go to the bathroom when they tell you too and you are quiete when they tell you too. It is therefore safe to say that it is the least romantic dinner I have ever had.
While everything is in the hands of Gaggan and all the talk about a show you might think that I hated it, but actually quiete the opposite. I loved it. I don’t know if it’s Instagram, the obsession with good placement on lists, lack of courage or something completely else, but I see that fewer and fewer restaurants stands out with a unique proposition. Gaggan truely stands out. As I said in the beginning I was afraid that the food might not be delicious, well it is. Second of all I loved the pairing. All natural wines and the very best ones you can find. Lastly I naturally I loved the show, I loved that he has the courage to be different which he absolutely is. This makes a night at Gaggan a night like no other filled with such a cool energy where one moment Foo Fighters is pumped through the stereo much louder than usual and the other moment you find your self eating a delicious “rat brain which naturally wans’t a rat”.
Although I loved Gaggan it’s also fair that it’s not for everybody. Go with an OPEN mind, go with an empty bladder as you will have very little time for your bathroom breaks and go only if you accept the premise of the restaurant which is a dinner and a show and on their schedules. Lastly the dinner is very fast paced and with the show being in between the dishes it’s not a good restaurant if you want to be social with the people you are going with. That is for after.
If you accept all of this Gaggan has my strongest recommendation and I can’t wait to go back.
I was invited by the restaurant to try the menu
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Head chef: Gaggan Anand
Menu: 20 course tasting menu – about $400