I'm blessed to be able to call Gaggan Anand a friend. I've been a big fan of his cuisine since first getting a taste of it about 2½ years ago, and my fondness has only increased with my visit to his restaurant last year. He's been extremely nice to me both in person and over social media, and I'm very grateful for his kindness.
I always knew that I would take Hello Kitty to Gaggan on this trip, but when I found out via Instagram posts from the two chefs that Hasegawa Zaiyu (長谷川在佑) from Den (傳) was going a 4-hands dinner with Gaggan in Bangkok, it didn't take me long to ask my friend to save seats for Hello Kitty and I at this special collaboration. And since the Great One was gonna be in town at the same time, we decided to go to the special event together.
Narisawa-style?). As expected, cooking the lamb sous vide made it very, very tender. There was definitely enough fat there to make every bite incredibly satisfying. Then you've got that deep-fried batter on the outside. Arguably my favorite dish of the evening.
Anyway, this was a mochi (餅) made with coconut milk that was cooked until it became sticky, and mixed with kuzu (葛) and tapioca pearls. The expressions were drawn with caramelized palm sugar, and it was surprisingly salty.
While I have to admit that I was happier with more of Gaggan's dishes, nevertheless I was very, very impressed with Zaiyu's ability to come up with dishes within half a day, using local dishes that he had just gotten himself exposed to. As I told Gaggan tonight, that takes some serious SKILLZ, and it showed me the potential of what a meal back home at Den could be like. Bravo to both chefs for what they put together tonight. It was certainly a lot of fun!
P.S. In spite of all of our efforts, neither the Great One nor myself have succeeded in paying for our meals at Gaggan. When I asked Gaggan for seats at tonight's dinner, I told him specifically that he needs to let us pay for dinner since we are not eating for free. Well, I did see some sort of a bill at the end of the dinner, and offered up my credit card. A few minutes later, a waitstaff returned to tell me that it was for the "wrong table", and Gaggan once again refused to let me pay. I didn't want to make a big fuss in front of the other guests, so I thanked him for the treat.
Thankfully I had come somewhat prepared, as I carried a small package of precious cargo as a gift to him for his upcoming birthday. In retrospect I should have given him a bigger package...