theW+ Food: Garima Arora's Gaa / Bangkok
A celebrated ex-Noma chef, Garima Arora, (@arorgarima) was supposed to open a new restaurant in Mumbai, at the invitation of Chef Gaggan Anand (@gaggan_anand) - who after winning several awards for his own restaurant, Gaggan, is set to expand his restaurant portfolio with the help and collaboration of chefs he admires. But due to India being India (price point issues, ingredient sourcing, etc.) - that Mumbai restaurant was scrapped, and instead the project shifted back to Bangkok, where Arora, who worked briefly with Anand as a sous-chef, launched her own restaurant-- across the street from his.
I've never had the opportunity to eat the 20+ courses Anand serves at Gaggan (scheduling conflicts, always) - but because Restaurant Gaa just opened up last year- I was lucky enough to get a reservation at the very last minute. Word on the street was, that Gaa is a "cheaper version of Gaggan" or a "more casual version of Gaggan"- which is quite far from the truth as Anand really didn't have much to do with the formation of this restaurant, and that Gaa is very much its own independent entity, shaped by Arora's vision of the Thai context but via her Indian roots and Noma training.
Arora and her team go all out "locavore", concocting a tight set menu of 10 or 14 courses focusing on a range of contextual and earthy flavours, and utilising only local ingredients. Each chef from her team, highlighted in the Restaurant's Instagram account (@restaurant_gaa), arrive at your table and act as host, introducing their respective dishes while serving their plate to you.
Refreshing in-house fermented wines can be paired with memorable dishes like a Duck Takoyako with Vindaloo, shaved Chicken Liver and Longan on toast, and my favorite dish of the night, the Grilled Pre-Cut Corn, plus a delicious Cauliflower bread with homemade butter and pickles. For what you get, the pricepoint is more than reasonable. The space- located in an old 4-storey industrial chic structure, is spacious and luxurious in its generosity of table and seating proportions. Better yet, the restaurant is on the edge of fine dining but without that high-fallutin' and over bearing service one may expect from a fixed menu restaurant of this calibre (looking at you Paste Restaurant). You can come in wearing ripped jeans or a black tie- and all are welcome as this is really a "home". (Well-- not board shorts and a tank top obviously- you get my drift.)
This blog post was made possible with the Camera, Photo, and SquareSpace apps, all on the iPhone X.
EAT Restaurant Gaa . 68/4 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road Lumpini, Phathumwan, Bangkok 10330 . www.gaabkk.com