Journey from Jura

Journey from Jura

Celebrated chef Gaggan Anand joins with Louis Vuitton for world-first dining concept LV The Place Bangkok

Journey from Jura
The facade of LV The Place Bangkok.

For those in the know, Jura is the emblematic keyword and secret code. It refers to the new Louis Vuitton establishment which just saw its world premiere earlier this month at Gaysorn Amarin.

"The music I curated for the restaurant is called Gaggan at Jura. Even my Line chats with suppliers are all [titled] Jura," Indian chef Gaggan Anand reveals jokingly. "I was afraid of our NDA and we always called it that. We worked on this for over a year and no one knew the secret [that this project was] with Louis Vuitton. It was almost like a proper affair and would have been the gossip of the town!"

Gaggan at Louis Vuitton.

Located in the east of France, the Jura region was where the illustrious trunk-maker Louis Vuitton was born in 1821. Indeed, this valleyed area serves as a springboard of inspiration for the many facets of LV The Place Bangkok -- the luxury brand's new two-storey space that comprises an exhibition, café, retail store and modern fine-dining restaurant, Gaggan at Louis Vuitton.

That Thailand was chosen as the first country to launch such an all-new concept is monumental. In the future, this pioneer destination will serve as the blueprint as other countries forge their own Louis Vuitton spaces offering experiences beyond retail.

"This [project] shows the global team's confidence that Thailand has a high potential in the luxury market," shares Wattasri Pattamasing Na Ayudthaya, managing director of Louis Vuitton Thailand and Vietnam. "And it's not just about buying luxury. This project is more about culture and lifestyle; it's really reflecting that we are metropolitan. If you've never been to us before at Vuitton, perhaps you open your mind and come visit us at the café or restaurant because you are a foodie. If you love arts, maybe our exhibition will make you curious and want to learn more about us."

Part of the 17-course dinner at Gaggan at Louis Vuitton.

Even if one is not a fashion fanatic, it will be hard to ignore the allure of this stunning space. This has been a proud opportunity to showcase Thai talent and the brand has tastefully incorporated Thai touches all across the two floors.

Most notably, textile artist Ploenchan Vinyaratn's handcrafted rope fixtures were used to decorate the store, as well as the restaurant's private dining room walls which resembles the interiors of a trunk. Upon a passing glance, the store's facade may look like mere giant diamond shapes.

"The Thai-owned design company Onion was responsible for the store's facade," says Wattasri. "The idea behind the design was inspired by the phan phum [traditional floral offering]. The little stars that make up the big one must be plugged in individually, the way a phan phum is made. It was hard to make because the materials were very heavy, but it is a respectful way to pay tribute to the country."

Gaggan Anand.

While there have been previous Louis Vuitton cafés serving dainty pastries and coffee in Osaka, Tokyo and Paris, chef Gaggan Anand's fine-dining restaurant is considered to be the brand's first time to ever offer a seasonal tasting menu.

Chosen to helm the restaurant for his creative artistry, international outlook and thorough understanding of Thai ingredients, Gaggan's own character and experiences also mirror the innovative spirit the fashion house is known for.

"I think how I relate to the brand is I had the exact same journey with Mr Vuitton, where he travelled from Jura to Paris and went on to create something extraordinary," says Gaggan. "My life started in Bangkok, not in India. Nobody knew of Gaggan in India, that was all Bangkok. I took this as an opportunity and vessel to say that even if my passport is not Thai, my daughter and my soul is Thai. It's been 17 years since I have been here -- my soul has become Thai and this is where I belong."

Wattasri Pattamasing Na Ayudthaya, managing director of Louis Vuitton Thailand and Vietnam.

The chef recalls that he had arrived in Thailand in 2007 with US$500 in his pocket, at that time completely unaware of what Louis Vuitton was. After opening his own restaurant Gaggan in 2010, the culinary rebel has since become globally famous. His signature of playful and funky food has gone on to win two Michelin stars and completely reframed the world's perception of Indian food, all the while solidifying Bangkok's burgeoning fine-dining scene.

Without giving away too much, it is safe to say that diners will find Gaggan's hallmarks of fun and surprise across the 17 courses for dinner at Gaggan at Louis Vuitton. Pictures across the internet may show food laden with motifs associated with the brand, where the brand's symbols and monogram pattern are featured, but in truth, the food encompasses the very spirit of travelling that the brand is renowned for.

The chef reveals that he was given complete artistic flexibility to design the menu and that he had travelled to Asnieres in Paris, the maison's atelier and archive source, to delve into the brand.

"I sat in the very room Mr Louis Vuitton used to and learning about the journey of the trunks, the canvas, the colours and how things happened all helped me to create the dishes. One of the biggest freedoms was when the head of ceramics from Paris and I went to a village in Arita in Japan to create these incredible handcrafted globe dishes."

Le Café Louis Vuitton. (Photos courtesy of Louis Vuitton)

This snap-worthy course, showcasing three bites cased in a three-tiered globe, represents the chef's intention to bring the world together through food.

"It's not just storytelling, as it is in the bite itself. These three bites will take you on a journey from me in India to France in the Mediterranean, and bring you back to Thailand," explains Gaggan.

Progressive Indian cuisine with nuances of French and Thai flavours are to be expected. A selection of refined local basics is another more lavish way to travel the world through food. Apparent in the Bites of India course, Gaggan says he did not want Indian street snacks such as ghewa, kashori and Bombay cookie to be "sloppy or domestic".

The ingredients used across the menu, whether caviar, mangoes or chutoro from the Mediterranean, all showcase touchpoints that are significant to the brand. Even the seemingly ordinary barbeque pork dish, a delightful reworking of kor moo yang but with Indian spices, celebrates the brand's origins as the drizzled sauce is made with wine produced in Jura.

The ‘Visionary Journeys’ exhibition.

A cake from Le Café Louis Vuitton.

Also worth noting is how award-winning Thai pastry chef Dej Kewkacha, the owner and main brain of the Kyo Roll En dessert empire, was the talent behind fashioning the dessert dishes for the tasting menu. Befitting his style of lighter and healthier sweets, chocolate and cream were not used in his creations to reflect a Thai palate. If you've ever wondered what other incarnations the humble bua loy [rice ball dumplings] can take on, you will find it in ice cream form here, sitting under a crispy monogram frame made of sesame.

It is widely known that Gaggan loves music and dreamt of being a rock drummer, but another one of his passions, coincidentally, has always been fashion. In 1996, he had applied and been accepted into both a hotel management institute and a fashion institute in India, but had to choose hotel management as Indian banks did not offer loans to students studying fashion. He grins as he too has had a say on the restaurant staff's beige uniform, which were all tailored in France.

"Now I'm really living my dream after 27 years. It's something I've really wanted to do and the common part is how you take something raw and make it beautiful. That's what both fashion and food is."

For further information and restaurant reservations, visit and search LV The Place Bangkok.


Notable highlights about LV The Place Bangkok

  • Visionary Journeys: This free exhibition on the ground floor spans five rooms. Besides displays of authentic treasures from archives that date back to the late 1800s such as the trunk bed, visitors will be engulfed by visually dazzling and awe-inspiring scenographic spaces. The exhibition was designed by OMA and Partner Shohei Shigematsu, the force behind other globally-renowned exhibitions such as Dior retrospectives in Denver, Dallas and Tokyo; and Manus x Machina at the Met Costume Institute in New York.
  • Le Café Louis Vuitton: This most affordable outlet allows visitors to taste Louis Vuitton sweets in a lush botanical ambience. The patisserie selection offers cakes, tarts, parfaits and ice cream sandwiches, all decorated with a Louis Vuitton flair. Takeaway options include Nong Vivienne cookies which are shaped like the brand's flowery mascot.
  • The Store: The store's gender-fluid arrangement is a world-first as it showcases its products by category and not by gender. Worldwide exclusives such as the LV Trainer Upcycling sneaker and Alma Nano Rainbow handbag are only available at this store. A larger selection of playful objects such as dumbbells, jewellery boxes and city guides are also available here. A display of collectable pieces, such as jacket collections or sneaker collections, will rotate every month.
Do you like the content of this article?