Welcome Gaggan 2.0.
The buzz: Gaggan Anand is back. Since the closure of his eponymous Asia’s 50 Best-topper earlier this year, the eminent chef and Netflix Chef’s Table star has been teasing fans with tidbits about his new, independent opening. Now, he’s unleashed his show-stopping 25-course tasting menus on Phrom Phong in characteristically raucous style.
The vibe: Behind a leaf covered exterior draped in vines, the intimate 14-seat “G’s Spot” sits encased in glass, its low open-kitchen counter surrounded by green leather chairs. A salacious questionnaire–covering everything from diners’ political standings to favorite rock bands and even sexual preferences–determines the crowd each night, ensuring a diverse yet well-aligned group ready to embrace the jesting vibe. Bathed in red light from a sign asserting “be a rebel” and spurred on by a rock-heavy soundtrack, the high-energy chefs and sommeliers flit between interacting with diners and deftly executing extravagant plating. Sloping wooden ramps lead up to the 40-seat “Arena G,” where individual tables are gathered around an open kitchen beneath a constellation of twinkling lights and moon-like orbs.
The food: Both ground floor G’s Spot (B12,000/person including wine pairing) and upstairs Arena G (B8,000) are treated to 25-course seasonal tasting menus, which take you on a bite-size journey through taste, texture and temperature, from glittering scallop and ikura “meteorites” with mystically warm outer layers and cool centers to white chocolate halos that burst with icy cold liquid. Seasonal ingredients and unusual cuts are treated to scientific techniques–think fish dry-aged inside ice blocks–accompanied by insights into sustainability, while flavors inspired by Thailand, India, Portugal and Japan each come with history lessons from Gaggan and his team (in G’s Spot). Even the presentation tells a story–autumn leaves picked by a supplier in Tokyo, or lush rice paddies encapsulated in ceramic form. While he makes nods to his old concept–from the emoji menu to the plate-licking–these elements don’t just reinvent the wheel. If you book downstairs, be sure to clear your schedule–with just one seating per night starting at 7pm, your meal is more than likely to run upwards of four hours, punctuated by boisterous dish introductions (often by Gaggan himself), lighthearted banter and drinking games. Upstairs, meanwhile, offers four seatings per night. Big groups and true ballers can book the Private Table, which comes with a minimum spend of B120,000 and can seat up to 10 guests.
The drinks: You’ll have to pace yourself to survive the dizzying nine drink pairings, which chart biodynamic wines hand-picked from small-scale producers and the occasional sake–all constantly refilled when dining in G’s Spot. The team of unconventional sommeliers, led by Vladimir Kojic, delight in extolling the virtues of weird and wonderful labels–prepare to have your love of Austrian wine consolidated, your preconceptions of “New World” wines challenged and your appreciation of the wine-making process enriched. Meanwhile, for those missing Wet wine bar, you can expect Wetter to land by March.
Why we’d come back: There’s no other dining experience quite like this. Despite the fame, Anand remains a regular master of ceremonies, displaying an inspiring level of energy and love for the task.