Gaggan’s last day

Because of corporate disagreements, tonight a restaurant that has made history will close. But it will reopen in October, once again in Bangkok

24-08-2019
GAME OVER. What's your score on Pacman? This

GAME OVER. What's your score on Pacman? This is the dish ending the 25-course tasting menu at Gaggan. The restaurant will open again in Bangkok in October, in a top-secret location

As we publish this article, Gaggan is getting ready to set the last dinner at his current location. This is a rather sad epilogue for the Asian restaurant that has created the most uproar in the last decade, and not only because it won the prize for the continent’s best restaurant for 4 years in a row (2015-2018) or it got the first two Michelin stars given to an eatery in Thailand. Yet this end encloses a new prologue.

Gaggan Anand, from Calcutta, has revolutionised fine dining in Bangkok, a city always rooted to street food, a megalopolis that, until 2010, seemed it wanted to have nothing to do with fine dining (the only exception given by rather classic, mostly French-inspired hotel restaurants). Then came nine years of powerful sparks and dishes that turned into emblems, of blasting music and iconoclast excesses.

On the last day, one can tell the sadness on the faces of the people walking on the other side of Soi Langsuan, the  little under 100-metre long private road behind Lumphini Park which, we’ll recall, is not only the den of this beautiful colonial villa on two floors whose doors will close tonight. On the other side of the road there’s also Gaa, third Michelin star of the group, signed by Garima Arora, the heir apparent of Gaggan and brand new best female chef of Asia for the 50Best (and there are two more stars, those of Sühring, a few km away).

CHEF. Gaggan Anand, 41, from India

CHEF. Gaggan Anand, 41, from India

SOMMELIER. Vladimir Kojic, 36, from Serbia

SOMMELIER. Vladimir Kojic, 36, from Serbia

Gaggan’s signature dish: you lick the plate from the top to the bottom. In the background, the song from Kiss that inspired the dish plays at full blast 

Gaggan’s signature dish: you lick the plate from the top to the bottom. In the background, the song from Kiss that inspired the dish plays at full blast 

Together with restaurant Gaggan, tonight even Wet, the bar serving natural wines next to the headquarters, is closing abruptly after Vladimir Kojic opened it only in February 2019. Today, after six unconventional sulphite-free months the place closes its eccentric doors (the entrance looks like a toilet). «Everything started», the desolate historic Serbian sommelier of the group reveals, «because a few months ago we asked the Indian-Thai majority shareholders to sell all their shares. They refused and from that moment on our relations deteriorated. There’s a lawsuit pending now so I can’t say much. I can only add that, for a few weeks now, I can’t even work at the restaurant, like I did for every day for years».

Anand, who is a minority shareholder with 25% of the shares, had to anticipate the closing of the restaurant by 4 months, giving back the money to those who had booked online every day from tomorrow, 25th August, to December 2019, when the restaurant was meant to close anyway. The original plan was indeed to move to Japan in June 2020 and open GohGan, a blend of Goh – a colleague and friend of the Indian chef – and Gaggan. Yet the corporate crisis changed everything: if all goes well, the Japanese chapter will open in 2021. And it will follow the chef’s true obsession, since he flew to Tokyo and the surroundings over 80 times in the last three years because «in Japan», Kojic jokes, «even the sandwiches sold in 7/11supermarkets are excellent».


From the latest menu: Mango milk-shake

From the latest menu: Mango milk-shake

The entrance to Wet. The bar opened in February and will close tonight already 

The entrance to Wet. The bar opened in February and will close tonight already 

Toilet paper at Wet

Toilet paper at Wet

In the meantime, the most interesting news is that restaurant Gaggan will soon open elsewhere, always in Bangkok. This will be in October, in less than two months, because there’s already a new location, still top-secret, and works are well ahead. After all, there’s no time to waste with this new corporate structure, which will belong entirely to the Gaggan group. Besides, they need to keep on paying the 65 people who, from all around the world, currently work at Soi Langsuan, all employed. 

The new establishment, we can bet on it, will create lots of uproar: continuity will win, but there will also be some new coup de theatre, in pure Gaggan-style. 

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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