Indian cuisine, perhaps more than any other, has been pigeonholed, locked into a narrow idea of heavy curries and spicy tandooris. It’s an inadequate concept, of course, and Gaggan Anand, through his stunningly unique restaurant in Langsuan, makes one of the most urgent cases for these definitions to be reconsidered. It’s ‘progressive cuisine’ anchored in Indian flavours but these lines gets blurred pretty quickly once you’re through the culinary wormhole. The reality is that, at Gaggan, flavours can be drawn from anywhere – as long as they work, there’s little formal structure about what’s allowed to go together.
Perhaps the most interesting way to experience Gaggan’s always delicious, often offbeat repertoire is through one of the tasting menus (B1600, B2600 or B4000). One of the more surprising combinations comes out relatively early – it’s called Viagra, freshly shucked French oysters served with kokam nectar and Indian mustard ice cream, and somehow works despite ingredients that don’t intuitively go together.
The Egyptian Secret uses foie gras, red onion chutney and raspberry powder to equally stunning effect, the flavours so well-judged that your taste buds are pulled in different directions in one mouthful. There’s the truffle mousse with a pepper infusion and king prawns with fennel Kachumber and charcoal oil. Each dish is wildly imaginative and often hard to process initially. It’s challenging food but, one after another, they prove unerringly delicious.
In a nod to those who might have reservations about this kind of experimental food, there’s the Fusion Called Confusion, which combines Atlantic lobster with a coastal curry. On paper, that sounds like the lobster taste doesn’t stand a chance but, sure enough, in the mouth, they’re both there, distinctly present on different parts of the tongue.
For those who just want a damn fine curry, Gaggan has that covered as well. The apparently simple Who You Calling Chicken (B390) in fact has outstandingly refined flavour and a heart-starting pepper aftertaste.
As for the desserts, try The Big Mango (B300; above) indeed, watch the staff prepare it in the kitchen, freeze-drying chocolate and mango powder into an edible snowball.
Be warned: after a visit to Gaggan, there may be no going to back to your garden-variety chicken korma.
68/1 Soi Langsuan | 02 652 1700 | eatatgaggan.com | 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-11.30pm