So much had been said about the legendary Bangkok icon of a hole-in-the-wall eatery Chote Chitr (in recent years, more bad than good) that we didn't know what to expect. We were prepared for the food to be either sublime or disappointing and overpriced; the service was known to be erratic and subjected to some degree of arrogance on the part of the lady owner.
Well, no knocking till we tried it, so after a 15-minute walk from Rambutri area, we were somewhat heartened to like the facade that we saw, on this small road off Tanao Road.
Old but clean and well-kept, the shop was empty when we got there slightly before 6PM. Celebrated lady owner came to take the orders, a commanding air and her equally well-known Shih Tzu in tow. We are no fans of small, yappy dogs but this one was subdued and kept mostly out of our way so we could get down to the eating.
The famed Banana Flower Leaf Salad proved its reputation correct. The nutty dressing drew the subtle bouquet of the banana flower out, inspired feelings of rolling around in grassy splendour. Or one of them Thai beaches.
We decided to venture against lady owner's recommendations (which incited visible annoyance) and picked another starter, Spicy Chicken with Salted Egg paste served with fresh vegetables. This was unusual in its pairing of the flavours - salted egg yolk and a good dose of tamarind? juice. Would go beautifully with mountains of fluffy white rice. No regrets but we would probably skip this in the future.
Finally, the stunning Chu Chee Curry with River Prawns - more sweet than spicy, the fresh crunch of the prawns when drenched in the coconut-based red curry, with the striking scent of kaffir lime leaves, sealed it for us.
Bill was around THB600, not the cheapest given that it's Bangkok, whose streets are teeming with great food at a fraction. But the succulent meal, paired with the opportunity to meet the grand dame (and defy her!) was well worth it!
146 Th Phraeng Phuton (off Tanao Road)