Gaggan - The Final Goodbye? [EDITED]
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
This final post is a continuation of the previous two here and here.
This is my most expensive meal yet. Why? The tabulated spending and rationale were shared in Gaggan - My Most Expensive Meal Yet. Was it worth it? Let's just say food is just as subjective as art. After dining for the first time in early 2018, I swore I'd never return. But I came back. Moral of the story : never say never. Is there another restaurant exactly like this one? Not a chance. The concept and cuisine were as original as the founder-slash-owner-slash-executive chef-slash-rock star-world traveller-flyer miles extraordinaire.
Many may not have eaten at Gaggan, or already paid for seats but the restaurant closed down before their appointed date arrived. Well, would you feel better knowing that the man himself is building up a new restaurant that's set to open in Bangkok this October? We might meet many familiar faces there too, something like 64 familiar faces. Check out the instagram snapshots below.
The future is in the horizon. But let us reminisce the sweet ending of my last supper at Gaggan before we call it a night.
🍈 "Pebble in melon water"? 😴
🥭 This looked familiar. Shake the mango puree and milk fast enough to drink it while still chilled. "We really hope you remember how to drink from this." Imagine the whole room sucking milk bottles at the same time. This was "mango milkshake".
🌳 Fully edible pink sakura plant referred to as "bonsai"! This, as you can see, made such a pretty picture, and a dessert lover's dream cause everything can be eaten (except for the pot). The colors, textures and variety of flavors were aesthetically pleasing, and that was about it.
It was quite boring to plough through all the softness from top to bottom that was rooted in a tea ice-cream. And it was close to midnight. I was tired.
🕹 The last emoji of the night concluded in pacman. It may look like a big-ass tamago but it was really ice-cream. The last thing that should pop in the mouth was the cherry jelly (on bottom right of board).
Dining at the now-defunct Gaggan was fun regardless of whether the right flavors were nailed, or the reinterpretations were swayed by one man's point of view. It was also an extremely tactile experience since most of the food had to be picked up by hand to be eaten. I also felt like I was being preached to at times while sitting at the counter, and Gaggan in front of my "pew" announcing broadly his latest observations on diners' habits, his history of certain dishes and love for Japan. At other times, I could have been fooled into thinking I was at a concert watching this "rock star" playing air guitar to his favorite band jamming, projected on a screen for the benefit of my rock-and-roll-less soul. The point is Gaggan has already decided on how your dining experience should be. So one can choose to either roll with it or get lost in translation.
The interesting part for me was that I enjoyed my meal a lot more when Gaggan was around to talk through each dish - the inspiration and origins, the cooking techniques employed, how to feel about it. I imagine having the same dish sans the man himself, and it would just fall flat - the flavors, the conversations, the experience. The executive chef helmed the dinner for a while before leaving in the middle of the menu. The rest of the evening did a little swan dive then plateau'ed.
As a traveling foodie, the eternal question that lurks in my mind is, is the intended restaurant putting out honest food for the diner, or are we all cash cows to be milked? I'm not referring to any particular restaurant, rather all restaurants that fall under this vague category. There has been far too many so-called fine dining establishments I've been to that started becoming creative in increasing the dinner spend per head, but the service remained peasant, and the dinnerware tired and worn out. It's a cutthroat space to be in for restauranteurs and a bleeding expensive one for the rest of us. When do we say enough is enough, let's get some real food back on the table.
But back to this at hand, are you looking forward to the reincarnated Gaggan?