Gaggan Anand likes to tell anyone who will listen that he "wants to go where no Indian has been before."
This doesn't mean he's an astronaut, but rather the Captain Kirk of cuisine. And his eponymous Bangkok restaurant is the launchpad for so many innovative dishes and improvisations aided by space-age gizmos for foaming, smoking, sous vide steaming and nitrogen freezing that an eight-sheet menu is obsolete before it leaves the printer. Tobacco-flavored ice cream? French oysters in a wisp of chutney foam? Goat brain "foie gras" bathed in defanged green chili and served with beer flavored with coriander, orange peel and licorice? Blast off!
Much of it is based on where Anand, 33, has already been. The chatty Kolkata native is a frustrated drummer his "progressive Indian" approach is inspired by his love of progressive rock who started cooking at 13, ending up at the Taj Group of hotels and eventually as a chef in the President of India's retinue. A barrage of phone calls, and a little chutzpah, helped him become the first Indian, and second Asian, to go through training at El Bulli, Ferran Adrià's Catalonian mecca of molecular fare.
A desire to free himself from his homeland's hidebound and increasingly crowded culinary environment led him to Thailand. At liberty to create, and set in a Thai house redone in white to resemble a summery cottage, Anand holds court for a growing coterie of high-end customers who mostly have him bring out a bite-sized, 10-course tasting menu at a low-end $50.
While his ambition seems boundless, Gaggan swears he has no interest in establishing more restaurants. But by opening one of Thailand's first true chef-driven outlets, this Indian has already gone a lot further than he thinks.
Reservations essential. Tel: (66-2) 652 1700; eatatgaggan.com.