‘Gaggan’ is a restaurant by Chef Gaggan Anand, which has received wonderful culinary acclaim and has opened the doors of Indian cuisine to the wide corners of the world. It featured in the top 10 restaurants of the world list – recently ranked No.5 in the world out of all the world’s best restaurants coming behind Eleven Madison Park, Mirazur, El Celler De Can Roca, and Osteria Francescana, and is also recognised as Asia’s #1 restaurant.
It was quite a struggle to get a reservation at ‘Gaggan’, we had to try for months to get a table for three people, but after repeated ‘unsuccessful’ attempts, a sense of emergency had prevailed upon me when I heard that the restaurant would be closing its doors in the year 2020.
I was able to reserve my table for 15th August aka ‘The Independence Day’ 2018.
A special day for a special restaurant. It is certified as the best Indian restaurant in the world and Gaggan Anand is now officially the greatest Indian Chef and the 5th Greatest chef in the world right now standing above stalwarts like The French Laundry, Alinea, The Fat Duck, Arzak, Noma.The restaurant by the look of it has a nice cozy and homely look, which provides it the desired warmth and avoidance of rigidity and strictness in the atmosphere. The staff is friendly, supportive and cognisant about the food, a great factor especially when the menu consists of 25 emojis which resemble 25 courses.
If you have watched the Chef’s Table Episode of Gaggan Anand then you know what I wish to say : simply, the food philosophy of Gaggan is unique. It neglects every component and ideological baggage that Indian chef’s carry is of portioning the food in a large bowl and serving rice or naan on the side, Gaggan does not have any of it, He creates food entirely out of ingredients rooted in India and aims to go forward with the principles of an obsessive minimalist. Out of 25 dishes, 23 are completely eaten by hand and 1 of them has to be licked off from the plate itself.
The food is inspired also from French and Japanese cuisine whereas many small components span the globe. To respect the length of the analysis I cannot speak at length about every dish yet each of them is masterful and sublime, beautifully made, complex, intense and delicious.The meal begins with a frozen juicy bite of white peach, the second course is a masterful tribute to yoghurt, it is simply the best thing ever done to a yoghurt, it is a yoghurt ball cooked in sodium alginate bath with salt and washed in clean water, then chilled, one bite and it explodes with the flavours of chaat in the mouth.
A very smart and provocative dish follows it up with an element of surprise, Lick It up, three components of a plate served alongside a JBL speaker playing the song Lick It Up. And the guest have to bury their face in the plate and use their tongue to enamour the flavours.A delicious and creamy Cheese Ghewar, it was a grand recreation of a French cheese soufflé in the form of a ghewar. Eggplant cookie is once again a wonderful bite of eggplant subzi- salted, dehydrated and frozen.
The Progressive beauty of Idli Sambhar and white chocolate and chilly egg is simply delightful. Mushroom Pav is spicy and delicious, acidic and does justice to the mushroom. A creamy laung ice cream stick which is aromatic, creamy and supremely refreshing, it is superb.
The Charcoal is Gaggan’s Masterpiece, it is an inventive and futuristic dish. Created with salted Jalebi batter, deep fried with the filling of a samosa, the best I have ever had. Followed up by a white asparagus clove ice cream with a red chilli cone, spicy and intense, attacks the throat.
Horseradish Puchka, Green Apple with Pumpkin inspired by Japanese sushi and Eggplant sushi, sweet and acerbic.
Hot sweet corn clear soup, Paneer tikka balchao- hot , juicy and spicy , coconut stem uncooked curry- the only dish with the spoon.
Steamed Vindaloo dumpling, followed by cauliflower with green chilli rub – amazing dish- loved the flavour, and the great Gobo Paturi, steamed paneer wrapped in leaf and torched with the flame- one of the best dishes I have had in my life.
The great Star Wars tribute Porcini finale inside the box of Death Star, with steamed rice and followed by desserts , Tonka Beans cookie topped with beetroot flower, flower power- a mithai with lychee, and the Dark Side of the moon- a grand tribute to Pink Floyd.
The greatest finale – Yin & Yang- perfectly shaped hidden Pistachio kulfi- the best kulfi I have ever had. Gorgeous to look and well balanced. A mouthful of creaminess and crunch. Yin & Yang is a philosophy of dualistic combinations which shouldn’t go well together but miraculously they do and this is the proof that kulfi can go with Asian ingredients and yin and yang which is a Chinese concept.
It is difficult to even tell which is the best of all, but I would try and name 5 for sure :-
- Yin & Yang
- Yoghurt Explosion
- Lick it up
- Gobo Paturi
- It is simply the most mesmerising and philosophically satisfying meal I have ever had.