In a culinary capital like Bangkok I was eager to try lots of different kinds of restaurants. Here are two high-end ones I went to. They’re both on my restaurant map.
Gaggan (Advanced A), 68/1 Phloen Chit Rd, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, www.eatatgaggan.com
This fine-dining establishment is Bangkok’s best restaurant in terms of international awards and accolades. Despite topping Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for a third consecutive year, chef owner Gaggan Anand has said he will close the restaurant in 2020 to take on a new challenge (a ten-seater restaurant in Fukouka).
I ate here with my friend Ian to celebrate my 51st birthday in September 2017. While I was waiting for him I had a Negroni made with Carpano Antica Formula, my favourite vermouth, along with Campari and Ironballs Gin.
As Ironballs is distilled in Thailand, this was a new kind of Negroni for me.
Anand’s approach is very playful. I’ve heard his food described as high-end Indian but many other influcences, such as Thai and Japanese, were in the mix. It seems to be all about making things look like something they’re not, or deconstructing classics and reformulating them in a fun way. Even the menu is a series of emojis.
When Ian arrived we ordered a bottle of Albarino, a favourite white from Galicia…
…and commenced with the culinary fun…
Black Salt Watermelon, an edible oyster shell filled with watermelon ‘pearls’.
Yogurt Explosion, a yogurt bomb with a burst of mango chutney.
Lick It Up Mushroom Peas. Perhaps my least liked dish as we had to listen to Lick It Up by Kiss while we were eating and talking!
Tom Yum Kung with the soup frozen into an ice cream and piped into the head of a prawn.
Goat Brain Flower Power was my favourite for flavour.
Eggplant Cookie, sandwiched together with onion chutney jam.
Chilli Bon Bon, a chocolate shell containing a liquid filling of cumin, chili, ginger and other spices.
Idly Sambhar, a rice sponge cake with coconut chutney, lentil curry foam and topped with a curry leaf.
Banana Chicken Liver, derived from a banana curry made for Anand’s baby!
Fish Granola was a new way of eating seabass.
Gin Tonic Uni, sea urchin temakis with cucumber cured in gin and tonic.
Chutoro Sushi, top quality fatty tuna served on dashi meringues rather than sushi rice.
Foie Gras Yuzu Carrot served in a carrot-flavoured waffle box (never thought I’d write those words).
The foie and yuzu were inside.
Green Vegetable Matcha, an unpleasant palate cleanser made with asparagus powder, celery, green tomato, green apple, cucumber and coriander…
…served as if it were tea.
Pork Vindaloo served as if it were Pork Tonkatsu, a Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet.
Scallop Uncooked Curry, scallops from Hokkaido with coconut curry flavoured ice cream.
Sheep Kebab Mango Chutney, a spicy lamb sausage to be wrapped with the darker dehydrated mango chutney leaves presented on a real plant, somewhat reminiscent of bullrushes.
Thai Green Curry, deconstructed blobs served on chicken skin atop a big rock.
Seabass Bengali Mustard, more seabass with Bengali mustard, steamed in a banana leaf and smoked on the table…
… before being unwrapped.
Charcoal Lotus Stem, a blackened lotus croquette.
Lobster Dosa, curried crustacean served on a dosa with strips of young coconut.
Beetroot Rose, an empty book containing roses with beetroot petals.
Milk Cake Reisling Muscat, wine flavoured mooncakes with a filling of grape ice cream.
Minion Wasabi, lemon cheesecake in the form of popsicles.
Peach Ghewar, an interpretation of a Rajisthani peach dessert.
For dessert we treated ourselves to a glass of Chateau Jolys Cuvee Jean made from Manseng grapes.
Finally an off-menu Passionfruit and Chocolate Birthday Cake.
Of course the passionfruit and chocolate were inside the edible candle.
I was too busy talking to grade the food but suffice to say a culinary good time was had. Thanks to Ian for sharing the experience and partially bankrupting himself with me!
Hate to say it but on my way home I stopped by my favourite ramen shop for a snack. People might wonder whether it was because Gaggan left me hungry or whether it was just out of sheer greed. I’m ashamed to report it was the latter but hey, it was my birthday!
More about the ramen in my coming Thonglor post.
On an earlier occasion I also met Ian here.
Nahm (Advanced B+), ground floor of the Metropolitan Hotel, Sathon Tai Rd, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon, www.comohotels.com
Although the restaurant space is rather uninspiring the food is very good here. Top Australian chef David Thompson uses great quality ingredients and time honoured techniques to recreate traditional recipes.
Thanks to his efforts Nahm topped the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2014.
We went at lunch time when it’s easier to get in and had the tasting menu for B1,700.
I have to be honest and say that again I didn’t grade this food, nor can I remember what the dishes were called but it was all great!
Hopefully the pics will do all the talking that’s necessary.
If you want a drink after eating you could try to get in next door at the Vertigo Moon Bar on the sixty-first floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel. I haven’t been but it’s reputed to have one of the best views in Bangkok. Alternatively you could walk a few minutes more to this place…
Smalls (Intermediate A), 3-4 Suan Phlu 1 Alley, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon
This great little jazz bar is Ian’s regular hangout and it would probably be mine as well if I lived here.
It’s low lit and very atmospheric. Live jazz can be heard on most nights of the week.
Off to Thonglor next, which also has a few good cocktail bars…