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Gaggan Anand's love letter to Singapore

Samantha Chiew
Samantha Chiew6/9/2022 11:32 PM GMT+08  • 5 min read
Gaggan Anand's love letter to Singapore
Photo: Unleashed Productions
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The Gaggan Residency at Mandala Club hits a climatic end with a radical 32-hands culinary extravaganza where guests enjoy tongue-in-cheek dining

Gaggan Anand is not your typical celebrity chef. The 44-year-old chef is commonly known as a rebel in the global F&B scene, flipping his finger at traditional fine dining and challenging the concept of the famed Michelin restaurant guide.

With his large personality and big ideas, Gaggan is known for his eponymous restaurant in Bangkok that has achieved several accolades, including being No 1 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2019 and 2021. Since November last year, the Mandala Club in Singapore has been the stage for the Kolkata-born chef — thanks to Covid-19 restrictions in Bangkok that brought him and his renowned food here.

But for those of you who have yet to experience what Gaggan has to offer, June will be the final month of the Gaggan Residency at Mandala Club. Needless to say, Gaggan will be ending his stay with a huge bang.

The stage will be transformed for even bigger talent: Gaggan, along with 15 of the biggest culinary maestros in Singapore, are coming together for a mind-blowing 32-hands gourmet cook-out. This collaboration, like no other, will see some of the biggest names in the Singapore’s dining scene share their very own interpretation of Gaggan’s greatest creations.

The 15 chefs are Julien Royer (Odette), Mano Thevar (Thevar), Reuben Davis (Popi’s), Jason Tan (Euphoria), Julien Mercier (Claudine), Sun Kim (Meta), Malcom Lee (Candlenut), Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida (Hashida), Rishi Naleendra (Kotuwa), Daniel Chavez (Canchita), Cheung Siu Kong (Summer Pavilion), Dave Pynt (Burnt Ends), LG Han (Restaurant Labyrinth), Janice Wong (2am: Dessert Bar) and Maira Yeo (Cloudstreet).

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The Last Supper is offered as a 10-course lunch consisting entirely of reinterpretations by the invited chefs, and a 16-course dinner including signature Yogurt Explosion dish executed by head chef Rydo Anton of Gaggan, alongside 15 dishes re-created by the selected chefs. This unique menu features a first-and-never-again presentation of Gaggan’s most iconic creations.

Gaggan’s signature Yogurt Explosion

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“These dishes will be served for the last time through this menu,” says Gaggan. “Yet it also be the first time they’ve been reinterpreted by other chefs.”

On the final night of June 30, the Gaggan Residency at Mandala Club will officially close with an all-star gala featuring all chefs in this wild collaboration.

For Gaggan, this extravaganza is his finest tribute to Singapore. “This is my love letter to Singapore, a unique way for me and my team to say thank you to the city and its wonderful F&B community,” he says.

“This cast of chefs was a tough choice, but each person was carefully picked to represent different genres, different restaurants and, of course, some of the best meals I had in Singapore. It is a celebration of my past months in Singapore, immersing myself deeply into its food, culture and hospitality, and getting connected to the people of different communities... It is a celebration of life in Singapore: wildly varied, yet tightly knit together,” he adds.

Options had the opportunity to savour Gaggan’s last supper, giving me an evening that I will never forget. The dishes are heavily influenced by Indian food and hence have beautiful spices and aromatic flavours. For the most part of the meal, I just liked enjoying Indian food, sans the cutlery.

The meal started off with Gaggan’s signature, the Yogurt Explosion. I was told to put my hand out, palm up, onto which the server placed a crispy green leaf with some popping candy, and then a yoghurt sphere on top of it. Voila, the first course was served. I was asked to not mind how I look like eating and just place the whole dish in my mouth.

This was such a great start to the 16-course meal, during which servers explained every dish, what went into making it and the inspiration behind it.

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Lick It Up plate by Julien Royer

Some other personal favourites include the “interactive” Lick It Up plate by Julien Royer which instructed me to lick everything on the plate; the Panipuri Egg Nest by Mano Thevar that was an explosion of spices plated to look like an egg on a nest; the Lamb Chop by Dave Pynt that just oozed smokiness; and the Lobster Dosa by LG Han, ending the savoury dishes on a delightful note.

Brain by Jason Tan

Before I knew it, three hours had gone by and the last course — the Baby Bottle Milkshake by Maira Yeo — was indeed the cherry on top. It was fun sitting in a room full of adults and being asked to just suck on a baby bottle — not something I would normally do, but “when in Rome…” The bottle was filled with lassi and a generous dollop of pickled rose.

Overall, this is not your typical fine dining experience, where you’re expected to properly use your utensils and eat politely. Gaggan is obviously challenging this notion and having guests get down and dirty by using their hands, licking plates and even drinking from a baby bottle. The experience was a new one for me, and a truly unforgettable one.

MANDALA CLUB
31 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore 089845

Contact:
Tel: (65) 9361 0851
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.mandala.club

Seating hours:
Dinner: Wednesday to Sundays, 6.00pm and 7.00pm
Lunch: Fridays to Sundays, 12.00pm and 12.00pm

Photo: Unleashed Productions

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