We love surprises, and if you do too, then we suggest reading this news piece about Gaggan Anand’s Greatest Hits menu and booking your tables, but otherwise, don’t say we didn’t warn you about the spoilers.
Of course, those familiar with Anand will know that they’ll be in for an outrageous treat. “People come to my restaurant for a rebellious experience, and we want to push their imagination to new frontiers with this residency,” he said.
Fans of the well-renowned chef can dine in the memory of what will be the last time he’s cooking in a restaurant, and first-timers can revel in the ultimate degustation menu that features well, his greatest hits throughout his career so far.
You’re promised a whole lot of enjoyment from the start.
After “checking-in” at the reception, all diners are handed a passport, complete with a mugshot of Anand and set of emoji stickers. The idea here is simple – guess what emoji represents each dish after tasting it and plonk them into the booklet accordingly. Alas, there are prizes if you get them all right but you’re encouraged to just roll with it.
If you’ve dined at the Mandala Club for the Mirazur residency previously, you’ll find that the space has made a 360-degree change to feature neon quotes like “People should fall in love with their eyes closed”, darkened interiors, and a feature wall depicting The Last Supper, only it’s clad with cheeky emojis that include the middle finger.
At the table, you’re presented with a one-bite starter: a chaat masala yoghurt sphere that plops gently atop a dehydrated green leaf, complete with a popping candy bits that tickle the palate.
Chutney, you’ll find, is a common – and expected – appearance in many of the dishes, including your next plate, Lick It Up. And yes, quite literally. We’re prepped only by a Kiss song of the same name that’s played on our dining companion’s phone, as it swings by the table. Here, the sunset hues of mango, tamarind and chilli chutneys are presented to you without any utensils, so you’ll have to pick up the plate and do the deed. We have a video of us in the act, but we’ll be keeping that safe from the internet perverts, thank you very much.
The mains that come speedily by, however, are a lot tamer than you’d expect.
Think a deconstructed interpretation of a cold curry that you’re supposed to mix on your own, complete with raw scallops, caviar, coconut milk snow and smoked shallots and a hearty mushroom soup of egg yolk emulsion, crispy quinoa, and fried ginger.
Truth be told, we wouldn’t bat an eye if dishes like the binchotan-seared wild Atlantic cod with Alleppey sauce or the 14-day dry-aged duck with tamarind honey chutney appeared on tables of other restaurants. It’s not necessarily an unfortunate situation (the cod was in fact, delightedly fork-tender yet firm to the bite and well-seasoned too), we just thought we’d be in for a more rebellious experience considering his reputation.
If you’ll have to know, there’s just one more act you’ll have to perform in front of your dining partner (s) and the strangers around you. At the end of the meal, with the sound of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star crooning in the background (or choose Baby Shark like our neighboring table, if you’re deeply entrenched in the trends of children’s music), you’re handed a milk bottle of mango-passionfruit lassi. Suck It Up, the meal’s done.
The 10-course lunch itself certainly leaves an impression… and videos of you seductively (or embarrassingly) sucking and licking for social media. This marks the end of an era for Anand, and perhaps your last chance to try his dishes anytime soon, so if you have fomo there’s no better time than now to book a spot.
Gaggan Anand’s Greatest Hits available at S $ 288 ++ for lunch (add on S $ 148 ++ for wine pairing), and S $ 388 ++ for dinner (add on S $ 198 ++ for wine pairing). The menu is available from now to 30 June at the Mandala Club, located at 31 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089845.