Dinner at Gaggan Anand Restaurant
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- Meal Views
Ok, I admit it, I am hooked now. I did not want to be a fan and to be honest had a cynical attitude to this meal. I wanted to go there only to see what the new place is like, only to take it off the bucket list and because an opportunity arrived. But now everything is different.
The new Gaggan venture is located in a house with three floors, the downstairs houses the G-Spot, the counter only part, the second the normal restaurant were you get the same menu but served individually at your table and the third is the Gaggan room, bean bags all over to relax and brainstorm. I was in the G-Spot.
There are 25 servings with a wine pairing of 9 wines, all served by the Chefs in the smallish open kitchen with a lengthy explanation of the dish, not only the ingredients but also the way they cook it and the background of its creation. All of this to very loud music which is curated partially from the questionnaire the dinners needed to submit.
The food itself is also emoji based but somewhat it feels that the emoji pairing is strained and only done because of the tradition of the restaurant and not because it drives the meal. This is a tasting menu which draws inspiration from many parts of the world, mostly from India and Japan, but makes reference to Thailand as the host country and the various countries where the Chefs are coming from. Based on the explanations we got, most of the Chef, old trusted hands of Gaggan, as 22 of the 24 have been working in the old place, have contributed to the menu in submitting dishes which Gaggan then approved. These dishes are entirely creations of their own. Astonishingly they managed to splice these various dishes into a nicely choreographed meal of 25 servings. For me these dishes were much more food than in the Emoji 2 menu, the ingredients well thought out and paired, the techniques sometimes completely over the top in complexity and effort. However somehow it combines to a incredible menu which left my deeply satisfied.
Don’t get me wrong, of course there was the odd dish which maybe will be replaced very soon based on the feedback of the dinners and I think the pastry section, well meaning, needs to be completely changed. But overall, this is a brand new place, just opened a few weeks ago and going incredibly strong. Some dishes on the other hand will be classics. For example the pickled bamboo vindaloo. Simply served in a bush on a stick, you bite into it and are happy. The texture, the combination of spices and the lasting linger of the bamboo is extraordinary. The main course, a rack of lamb grilled on the binchotan grill served without cutlery, just on the bone, is perfect. It sourced from a farm of a Lady Farmer who stopped her career to become a sustainable farmer.
This brings me to the man himself. Gaggan, larger than life, certainly not an easy person to work with, is in his restaurant a conceptual cook like Damian Hirst is a conceptual artist. The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living of Mr. Hirst, a great piece of Art, was not done by himself. But he thought of it and created the concept. Gaggan seems to do the same with his team of cooks. They create a meal based on his concept. He inspires them, pushes them and creates deep loyalty for him and pride to be part of this team. A truly charismatic personality (and actually also a great cook as the meal he whipped up for a small group of people in his house just jumping off an airplane from Frankfurt can attest to).
I am sure the chorus of the traditionalist and ingredient driven diners will degrade it as a failed swan song, but I tell you it is a great release of a rebel hard rock band.
PS: they do not provide you with a written menu, the descriptions of the dishes are therefore based on me frantically writing while the chefs described the dishes.