Well, it is week 2 of the honeymoon and I am still married, though I am not sure if I should worry about the suggestion that I take a Thai boxing class?!
I must admit I was a little sceptical of Gaggan after our experience at Nahm. Ok, I’ll give it to Nahm that the food was great, but just too many good things on the table at one time kind of made it less special. I’m pretty sure you said you liked Gaggan. Well, I sure did too! Wow. What a shake up of Indian cuisine.
To set ourselves up, and to continue exploring some of the rooftop bars of Bangkok, we took your advice and found our way to Speakeasy at the Muse Hotel. There was a private party happening on the top floor, but the easily found bar was still pretty nice. A cheeky cocktail served by staff taking the flapper theme just a little bit far, but it was still pretty fun.
We lashed out with the full degustation at Gaggan, because I don’t get the opportunity to go that often, unlike you can. I’ll run through some of the highlights below, but I doff my hat to their sommelier for the wine list. There was a healthy selection of approachable aromatic whites and some to challenge. I ended up opting for a Sancerre from Loire. Sauvignon Blanc as only the French seem able to do. I detected a subtle “something” on the nose and the sommelier was gracious in attending and confirmed no cork taint, rather a touch of bretamyacies as the wine maker intended.
Gaggan, as you know has the ability to surprise. What may look like a conventional dish, ends up being nothing like what you were expecting. Nothing like it. From the “poached egg”, which was instead spiced yoghurt, but with almost precisely the same texture as a poached egg to the sous vide lamb chops which were the standout for me. Oh, not sure if the mini-chocolate degustation for dessert should be counted, as it was mind blowingly good.
In the same “challenge the expected” theme, the venue is quite the surprise. Finding the place required asking directions of the front of house staff at Muse, then a security guard located near the entrance to the Soi. There is little chance I would explore such a Soi without knowing what lay near the end.
Would I recommend Gaggan to someone visiting Bangkok? In a heart beat.
We jetted off to Luang Prabang, Laos the next afternoon. I’ve been before, but it was a good 6-8 years ago. I kind of worded Julia up to what we were going to find, but I think it still surprised her somewhat. We stayed at Satri House, which was delightful, but a touch too far out of the middle of the action. The old president’s residence, apparently?! Truly stunning architecture and artwork and a very comfortable room.
Luang Prabang has changed lots. The demographic of tourists more than anything. The nightmarkets are full of Chinese made stuff, with only a smattering of Lao made wares. The backpackers are still there en-masse, eating buffet street dinners for 10,000 kip (~$A1.30) and sleeping in guest houses for not much more. Then there are those who are “well to do”, e.g. us.
We ate at Apsara on your recommendation. Turns out it is owned by the husband of the owner of Satri House. Food was nice. I really like my slow cooked buffalo cheeks in Lao spices. Didn’t really sing to me otherwise. A spot of rain chased us from alfresco on the banks of the Nam Kahm river to shelter under the beautiful French colonial veranda.
Our days were filled with strolling the streets, choosing random places to enjoy a Beer Lao, mostly on the Mekong side. A short, early trip was also had to the Kuang Si waterfalls. I’ve seen pics, but its pretty cool! There was nobody else there, which made it special. Then the car from Aman arrived and we left.
We also spent a day doing a Lao cooking course with Tamnak Lao. There were only 3 of us in the class, which started with a trip to the Phousi markets. We cooked, and ate lots. The food is so very different to Thai food, almost no chilli?! Far easier for we softies to deal with! If you get the chance, do the course.
A visit to LP wouldn’t be complete without a visit to L’Elephant. The food was nice, French, predictable, but the wine list gets me. Classic grand cru French wines for crazy prices. I forked out for a bottle of 2009 Mouton Cadet (white) which, while not overly expensive in Australia, is just unexpected there. Dinner with wine cost a whopping 817,000 kip (~$A120.00) for both of us. Compared with street food, ridiculously expensive.
Only 3 nights in LP, then to our fav, Koh Samui. Hope we get a chance to catch up with you while we are there?!
Better fly. My bride is wondering why I’m on my computer…woops!