Bangkok: Gaggan, #23 World’s Best Restaurant

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I have previously mentioned that I like to visit some of the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, so of course I had to visit Gaggan when I recently visited Bangkok. My Indian friend loved it when she visited, so I gave it a try with my mom.

There are 2 seatings: 1) 6pm and 2) 9pm. As it does take a few hours to make it through all the courses, I would recommend booking early in order to get the 1st seating.

Is it too spicy?

First, I should mention that I HATE spicy food. Yes, I am sorry, but my body cannot handle it and I do not find it pleasant to suffer when I am eating. This is one of the reasons I am not particularly fond of India (more on that some other time). As such, I was a bit concerned about going to Gaggan because some people on TripAdvisor where complaining that it was too spicy.

When we arrived for our reservation, I informed them that we do not eat spicy food and they said that their food wasn’t particularly spicy, but that it was too late to change the basic parts that had already been prepared. However, she would tell the chefs not to add any spicy sauces or garnishes that they didn’t have to.

When you make the reservation online (I booked about 3 weeks in advance), you are asked to respond to the e-mail with allergies, etc. I was a bit annoyed that she said I had to mention this in advance because in my response, I wrote to them that we do not eat “very spicy food”. Apparently, my use of the word “very” in the e-mail was a problem. If you are like me, I would recommend being specific about not wanting things spicy and do not use the word “very” or any other modifiers!

That being said, they were very good about checking on us throughout the dinner to make sure that it was okay and not too spicy. They seemed genuinely concerned about our happiness and, to our surprise, we didn’t find the food to be spicy with the exception of one dish: the chicken curry. So I would ask for that dish to not be spicy when you e-mail them.

The Meal

First off, you are presented with 10 small “bites” for which they write “please eat it with your hands”

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The menu said this was pickled plums soda, but the day we were there they used cherries instead and the soda was really delicious!

#2&3: Yogurt Explosion and Edible Plastic Spiced Nuts

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The textures of those were very contrasting. I am using the titles written in the menu, but of course that isn’t actually plastic. I believe it was rice paper made to look like plastic. It’s really funny how your mind plays with you, though. It was a bit difficult for me to want to put something that looks like plastic in my mouth.

#4-6: Idly Sambhar, Aam Ka Panna, Uncooked Curry Cookie

#s 4, 5, & 6

#7: Pork Vindaloo

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This dish was apparently Portuguese-inspired and was one of my favorites of the “bites”. Delicious!

#8: Black Forest Gateau

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This is his spin on a German Black Forest Cake. But it isn’t actually that chocolatey, so don’t be fooled!

 

#9: Khakra Eel Sandwich

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This may have been the first time I have had eel. I am not entirely sure, but it isn’t something I generally eat. It was okay…not something I am going to necessarily add to my list of things I like.

#10: Mango Uni Sundae

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This one was really good! I thought it was amusing that it comes in an Ikea planter, though (I have the same one at home).

Now for the main event(s)!

Charcoal: “Be surprised! We won’t tell you what it is”

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I won’t tell you what this is either, but I can say we absolutely had no clue. They tell you after you eat it.

Magic Mushroom: “Forest mushrooms in the shape of a log, edible soil and the garden”

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Red Matcha: “Tea ceremony with Wagashi of tomatoes and fruits, and hot tomato shorba”

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This was soooo good! First, you eat the peeled tomato and fruit at the bottom as the woman prepared the other part. Then, she pours this amazing tomato broth in the bowl and I swear I could have consumed many more bowls of that broth.

Rangoli: “Indian celebration design with tandoori lamb chops”

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If you are like me and don’t eat lamb, they will give you morel mushrooms. I mean, you are already eating plenty of food, so I wasn’t too upset about that. I liked that they at least gave me another option. My mom said the lamb was very good.

I want my Curry!!! [That is the actual name of the dish as it is written in the menu with all of the exclamation marks]: “Chicken kofta curry, minced lamb masala, rice and bread selection”

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I thought it was really cute that these came in the traditional Asian lunch boxes. I had beans in mine instead of the minced lamb. This was the only thing that was genuinely too spicy for us. I just picked out the chicken (minimizing the amount of sauce) and ate it with the rice and it was okay. The naan bread that came with it was also good (although I think I had better naan in India).

Dessert

Peach Snowball: This is what it said in the menu, but the one we got was some new one they were trying out, so I do not know what the description of it is.

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1, 2, 3! The waiter cracks it for you, similar to creme brûlée

Mango Duet Lollipop: “My favorite childhood ice cream recreated to a bite”

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These were really yummy!

Infusion of Sandalwood earthy roots

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The mango sticks were better, so I kind of wish they had been the last.

The Wine

The one thing that annoyed me a bit was that all the wines were so expensive. The cheapest bottles were $90-$100. I had just come from South Africa where you could get excellent bottles for $5, so it seemed especially egregious to me. The wine I chose did taste excellent, but I’m a huge wine drinker and I know it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be good.

Price

The tasting menu costs 4,000 baht + 10% service charge + 7%VAT per person. Of course, if you have wine and water, that adds up to a bit more than that.

*Tip: The restaurant is located down a small street off of the main road, so your driver may not know where it is. I would use Uber or Google Maps to show the driver. They also have maps on their website you can use.

Overall, the service was excellent, there was a nice ambience, and if you have the money in your budget, we would recommend going there!

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