He has done it again. Made India proud.
And that too at the most prestigious and highly coveted World’s 50 best restaurant awards. Gaggan Anand’s Bangkok based restaurant is the only Asian restaurant to be amongst the top five. Here, Spain’s gastronomique city of Bilbao is buzzing with the global whos who of the food world. Superstar chefs have flown in to attend these three action packed days of feasting, celebrating, deliberating. 50 best talks, Food meets art discussions and then the grand finale of the awards in the Palacio.
On being crowned worlds best, the tall, bespectacled passionate, inspired, philosopher genius Massimo Bottura and his lovely wife Lara receive a standing ovation.
Our very own Delhi London NYC based “Indian Accent” was ranked 90.
Powering this gigantic and magnificent global operation is an amazing dream team. Hailing from different parts of the world, each one is dynamic, creative, efficient and empathetic. Helmed by Charles Reed, Tim Brooke Webb, Helene Pietrini William Drew who ensure that it is not just the definitive “list maker” of the greatest restaurants, but also the “tastemaker”. They keep the World’s 50 best continuing be the Best of the best.
Foodies please note, a few weeks ago, the prestigious Michelin guide has made its entry into Bangkok. And while Im here Im determined to eat my way through the Michelin starred restaurants. Starting at the very top two-starred Michelin and right up to the street food Jay Fei who has been conferred a Michelin star.
Dish after dish has visual and gustatory starbursts. And wow! there is vegetarian caviar too, sublime in taste and texture: a vegetarian’s dream come true. Here the brilliant chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier dazzles.
My sparkling starry meals in Bangkok begin at the legendary epitome of French fine dining, the best in Thailand (since 1958) Le Normandie. It is truly a connoisseur’s fantasy of splendid cuisine, impeccable service and elegant ambiance.
The tiny gem like amuse bouches implode with flavour and texture. I love the fact that the distinction of many dishes is a judicious intricacy, the strength of others is their focus: how intensely they taste of their central ingredient, like the seabass. And the airy and light Grand Marnier mousse is easily the best in Thailand. It elevates my Michelin starred meal even higher. From the starred French fine dine I go to my other favorites, the British High tea and the Thai Restaurant in the 141 year old historic Mandarin Oriental, But before I do that I request the chef for the recipe of the vegetarian caviar.He sets it in an empty caviar tin. If you cant find one, then any small tin will do. You need cauliflower, spring onion, veg gelatin and a little mayonnaise. No quantities are being given as it depends on the size of the tins you use to set it.Peel the extremity of the cauliflower then chopped finely. Blanched for 1min then refresh in ice bath.
Mix with the chopped truffle ( if not available, use mushrooms), sliced spring onion. Let mixture macerate for 4hrs.
Make the jelly with
and veget gelatin
Roast the cauliflwer until brown color then add water to cover it. Cooked for 2 hrs.
Pass the liquid through a cloth then put the gelatin
Put the cauliflwer couscous inside the box then cover with the jelly.Let it set and finish with some mayonnaise
BRITISH HIGH TEA
It is here in it’s elegant and historic “Authors Lounge” that I sip (literally too) over a century of legendary literary history. I enjoy the classic British High tea. It is here, in Le Grand Dame that the world renowned authors (Somerset Maughm, Noel Coward ) have lived and immortalised it. Dapper dynamic Australian Gregg Lidell who continues to helm this landmark orchestrates everything to perfection, everhelpful Karn Puntohong epitomises best of Thai hospitality. It is here, that the very gifted Patisseur Christophe Sapy constructs (the only suitable word for his amazing work) cakes. Each one a work of art. And his pastries seduce, Through it all we nibble on superlative finger sandwiches (cucumber,chicken, ham). Outstanding pastries, tarts, madelienes and a meltingly, rich, chocolate cake. And the most delightful scones with clotted cream and rose petal and pomelo jams.
And oh! That amazing sourdough bread, freshlybaked and crusty on the exterior and soft and warm inside has me asking for more. The gifted young Danierl Texter not only takes me to the amazing treasure trove of freshly baked bread, cakes and pastries but also shares the recipe of an easy to make bread at home. Should you need it, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
HIGH ON THAI
It is here too, that Bangkok’s finest Thai restaurant beckons. Time is standing still as I gently glide down the gleaming “River of Kings”. We do so in a beautiful wooden-carved long tail boat. At the other end of the bank Sala Rim Nam, an exquisite restaurant serving authentic Thai food awaits me. But that is yet another story. A delicious one too!
My sparkling starry meals in Bangkok begin at the top. Michelin guide’s inaugural foray into Bangkok has conferred two stars, fittingly enough on the legendary epitome of French fine dining, the best in Thailand (since 1958) Le Normandie. Perched in the 141 year old historic Mandarin Oriental, it is a connoisseur’s fantasy of splendid cuisine, impeccable service and elegant ambiance. Here the brilliant chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier dazzles. Dapper dynamic Australian Gregg Lidell who helms this landmark orchestrates everything to perfection, everhelpful Karn Puntohong epitomises best of Thai hospitality. . Musical, gastronomic metaphors morph seamlessly into delicious melodies here. From French fine dine, I now go to the streetfood vendor Jay Fay who has been awarded a Michelin star. Starry starry night!
India is shining. And how! I’ve never seen such a full-on star cast of Indian chefs together. I write from the stunning seaside city of San Sebastian (which has the largest number of Michelin starred restaurants in the world). Fittingly enough the gigantic gourmet Gastronomika is taking place here. Eye-opening sessions, cooking demos with tastings, tours and more. And amid all this high-end gastronomy, India is the guest of honor. The dynamic director Roser Torres dons a red salwar kameez especially to welcome dream-team India. Our very own, worlds 7thb est, Asia’s best Gaggan Anand has flown in from Bangkok. What a cluster of Michelin stars: Vineet Bhatia (London), Sriram Aylur (London), Srijith Gopinathan (SanFrancisco). Saurabh Udinia and Manish Mehrotra (New Delhi) and covering both North and South India are Manjit Singh Gill and his dreamteam, And from Mumbai our very own chef Thomas Zachariah are making India proud. Jai hind!
PA PA YA
Another winner from Zorawar ( after Masala Library and Farzi in Delhi). The fun quirky reinterpretation of Asia and the Far East through molecular gastronomy’s cerebral shenanigans and yet distilling taste validates the kind of experimentation that culinary pioneers undertake.
Stop press! Hot news for foodies. At the most prestigious “Asia’s 50 best” awards ceremony our very own Indian cuisine came up tops. Gaggan Anand, a Kolkatta born, Bangkok based chef’s restaurant Gaggan was voted as Asia’s best restaurant. Making it to this coveted list are restaurants from Mumbai, Delhi and Srilanka too.
SNAPSHOT OF THE BEST
Please take a look at the photograph I shot in Singapore last week at the most prestigious Oscars of food awards… Asia’s 50 Best 2015. As you can see, there is many a winner from the Indian subcontinent along with Asia’s best our very own Gaggan as well as the lifetime achievement award winner the legendary Tetsuya Wakhuda. Whoa! what excitement and anticipation there was before the awards were announced. And when Gaggan’s name
was announced there was an uproar of delight and celebration. And the hall was chocobloc with the crème de la crème of the foodie world. Superstar chefs had flown in from all continents, including South America. It’s here amidst all this spectacular talent that progressive Indian cuisine was honored.Kolkatta born, ponytailed Indian chef partner Gaggan Anand and Rajesh Kewalramani’s restaurant “Gaggan” (Bangkok) was declared “Asia’s best restaurant”.
Ive had the most mindblowing meal in Gaggan, Bangkok. Here this brilliantly creative chef makes art and science copulate in his kitchen and the results are astonishing. Our very own papdi chaat’s tangy, chatpatta flavours are recreated in a quivering white blob. The plump potato filled snack, the samosa appears on a plate in fantasy form and so on. Dish after dish delights. Also here to receive the award for India’s best restaurant was the brilliant Chef Manish Mehrotra. He transforms comforting and well-loved ingredients (aam papad, chyavanprash) and teases with surprises.Global favorites (foie gras, smoked salmon, truffle oil) are married with Indian regional dishes with panache.And therein lies the magic.
Interestingly long with this progressive Indian restaurant is the landmark Bukhara which has not changed it’s menu past 35 years. To receive the award for New Delhi’s award winning Bukhara’s rugged charm of the North West Frontier cuisine were chef JP Singh and Bindu Panicker. Grand corporate chef Hemant Oberoi’s Wasabi was awarded too and he consistently and brilliantly marries authentic with creative and produces Japanese masterpieces follow. Im delighted that Dharshan Munidasa’s Ministry of Crab and Nihon Bashi from Srilanka are both on the list. He dazzles us with outstanding and authentic flavours.
This is it. This are the ultimate guiding-lists you must follow if you are a global-foodie. Do you (like me) like to see the world through your tastebuds? I save up and travel to eat and to find the finest. The best. These are the “Worlds 50 best” and “Asia’s 50 best” the most accurate snapshot of dining opinions. Meticulously, painstakingly compiled from votes of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘foodies’. Powering this initiative is the London based dynamic team of Charles Reed, group editor William Drew, Tim Brooke Webb and Rachel Quigley. Through the year they ensure that the voting process is carried on systematically and accurately throughout the different regions. Each time the actual award ceremony becomes more spectacular than the last. Each time it has many more who’s who of the culinary word attending it. And each time it delivers an exciting and accurate compass to Asias 50 best and the Worlds 50 best restaurants. As William Drew, group editor said
“Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants aims to celebrate success, reward innovation and hard work,” he ends with ” and provide diners with guidance on the greatest places to eat across the continent”. Lets raise a toast of gratitude to that!
TOP 10 WINNERS 2015
Gaggan – Bangkok, Thailand (GagganAnand)
Narisawa – Tokyo, Japan (Yoshihiro Narisawa)
Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet – Shanghai, China (Paul Pairet)
NihonryoriRyugin – Tokyo, Japan (Siji Yamamoto)
Restaurant André – Singapore (André Chiang)
Amber – Hong Kong, China (Richard Ekkebus)
Nahm – Bangkok, Thailand (PrinPolsuk)
8½ Otto E Mezzo Bombana – Hong Kong, China (Umberto Bombana)
Waku Ghin – Singapore (Tetsuya Wakuda)
Jungsik – Seoul, Korea (Jung SikYim)