CURRYBOND #20 Jaffna House + Die Another Day
The Curry Leg
Twenty curry restaurants in and it's time for a more somber tone. Thanks to those Russian oligarchs, the unstoppable growth in wealth seeping down the Northern line has led to the inevitable gentrification of Tooting. Whilst I welcome the trendy burger joints, the gin bars and the Wandsworth craft beers, there have been casualties. So let's put on our black armbands and take a moment to mourn the loss of the curry places that didn't make it through the CURRYBOND journey.
Cinnamon Garden - originally scheduled for CURRYBOND #19
Onam - our venue for CURRYBOND #9, despite getting a respectable 7.7/10 it clearly came too late and the remains have been re-birthed as a rather nice looking Brazilian Steakhouse...we'll remember your Appam and Stew amongst other Keralan treats. Rest easy in the halls of curry Valhalla.
Not even CURRYBOND can stand in the way of progress
This weeks curry leg sees our intrepid CURRYBONDers back in the heart of the curry corridor, just south of Tooting Broadway at Jaffna House. It's certainly noticeable on the high street with it's vibrant blue and yellow neon sign announcing our latest establishment as Sri Lankan - South Indian Takeaway & Restaurant.
You would be forgiven for thinking the front of the "restaurant" offers anything except takeaway but you would be wrong. For those in the know, the entrance to the restaurant is in fact around the corner through, for all intents and purposes, a front door to a house...it is in fact a secret door to curry wonderment...well sort of.
Venue Score - 6.0/10.
The restaurant inside is quite modest. There's a bar at the back and a number of authentic looking adornments to welcome us in. Taking our seats I'm immediately impressed by the branded Jaffna House napkins, a nice touch but perhaps the extent of the attention to detail for the rest of our evening.
Once a solid number CURRYBONDers arrive we get the orders flowing. Up to start are Devilled Chicken, Prawn Poori and Onion Bhajis (there may be other things, but due to the poor quality of both the receipt and my memory, they have been omitted).
There was a clear divide in opinion of the food quality with the CURRYBONDers nearest the bar (I'm sure this had no bearing...) scoring pretty highly, whereas those at the far end of the table much less impressed. Jobbers certainly appreciated his first foray into the world of devilled things and Rimmsy gave the ever-recurring prawn poori a thumbs up. What wasn't up for debate however, was the quality of the bhajis, which came in fat, doughy, stodge patties...poor. Bhaji Score 4/10.
The mains make their appearance soon after and we plump for Butter Chicken, Special Chicken Curry, King Prawn Masala, Chicken Tikka Bhuna, the reference Chicken Tikka Masala and assorted others I still cant make out...
For me, it's one of those bowls-of-brown-stuff experiences. I put my spoon in a good selection of brown looking sauces and the distinction in flavour was minimal. The naan accompaniments were average being overly bready. Again, half the table seemed to enjoy the experience somewhat more so Jaffna House gets a democratic...
Food Score - 6.3/10.
The portions came in relatively shallow dishes, I mean we obviously still didn't finish it all, but still...Cobras and Kingfisher were on offer alongside the full bar of spirits so added to the overall cost. The bill came in (on a slightly less professional receipt than their napkins) at £96.05 that's £13.72/CURRYBONDer, a mid range cost of curry.
Value Score - 7.2/10.
We emerge from the curry dining room into the darkness with Winter coats, it seems we've come full circle as we approach the last four CURRYBONDs, Winter is coming...and sadly this curry leg doesn't provide a light in the darkness.
Overall Score - 6.3/10.
The Bond Leg
Twenty Bond films. A hugely impressive achievement, not least having the same character over five different actors who hasn't aged for 40 years. So, thought the producers, we should celebrate right? Let's put in loads of cool references to past films, let's bring back all those great plot points, remember that one with the Asian bad guy who changes his face and becomes a white guy with ginger hair...no? Oh...bad idea.
Yes, it's Die Another Day, the curtain call of the Brosnan era. I wonder if he'll go out on a high...or is there a reason why this is the last Brosnan film...and it took 4 years before anyone could stomach a new Bond...hmmm.
Things kick off with an arms deal alla Tomorrow Never Dies, not exactly classic, but this Bond generation have short memories. Yes an arms deal in North Korea where we're introduced to the Korean versions of our bad guys...I'll get to that...Things soon go tits up when bad guys realise Bond has been pulling this trick for 20 films and blow up his escape route and take him into Korean custody. Obviously there's a whole load of explosions, hovercrafts and diamond encrusting action beforehand, but in the end Bond gets caught...obviously.
We then get our first ever plot driven intro sequence where nudey ladies are replaced by torture scenes, doesn't quite have the same appeal. Especially when it's backed by possibly the worst Bond theme. Summing up why early 00's pop music should be banished from existence, delivered by Madonna who's just discovered the wonders of auto-tune. Let's hope that's the last we see of her...
Back to our plot and an extra beardy Bond sporting some lovely prison pyjamas is taking a stroll across a rather foggy bridge when he figures out he's being traded for diamond encrusted Korean bad guy, Zao. Bond clearly needs a holiday, and a beard trimmer...so ditches M, by stopping his own heart...that's a new one...and heads to Cuba.
Time for another supercool reference, let's have another hot girl emerge from the ocean while James ogles her. Better make sure she has big jiggly boobs though this time, who's the best female actress to fulfil this challenging role, Ooo clearly Oscar winner Halle Berry!
After bedding said hot girl, obviously, Bond heads to the beauty clinic for terrorists to find, now slightly less Korean more Marvel alien bad guy, Zao, who's busy having his magic mask with extra future lights treatment. Bad guy escapes, hot girl escapes and Bond is left holding his....diamonds...
Back to London for Bond and he's on the trail of chief bad guy Gustav Graves, owner of said diamonds. He picks him up in a fencing club...why not I guess. Ok, looks fine, some nice swordplay, riposte, en guarde etc, who's this fencing teacher? Oh....Really?...I mean, there wasn't anyone else...it's just...you heard the song right?...and that other thing she was in? Swept away? Yes, Madonna's back acting her corset off as the fencing instructor and old flame, (I mean she's female) to Bond.
But wait, that's not the worst thing in this sequence, not by a long shot...enter Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stevens who has the most punchable facial expressions I've ever witnessed on screen. I want to reach into the TV and rip off his ridiculous smirk to reveal the unconscionable plot twist beneath.
So they have a sword fight, it's ludicrous, Rosamund Pike turns up, let's move on.
Time for some gadgets. Bond heads to dis-used tube station Vauxhall Cross to pick up his new wheels, but wait where are they? We've had an underwater car, a flying car and a remote control car. Yes, it's an invisible car, sigh, and sadly, the last we see of the John Cleese Q.
Next locale, Iceland. We get an ice hotel, another appearance from Halle Berry's Jinx and a demonstration of the super weapon. Time for another reference, but to be honest is it an homage to Goldeneye? Moonraker?Diamonds are Forever? Goldfinger? That's right it's another space laser...
Bond's no fool, he's seen this before and thinks hmmm, he's a good fencer but maybe he's not a good guy. A bit of "spying" and look out it's time for a twist. Yes, the rich white man with ginger hair is in fact previous Korean bad guy, Colonol Moon...thanks to magic mask future lights. But that's not everything, it seems M Night Shayamalan casts a long shadow, so what's better than one stupid twist...? Fellow undercover agent, Miranda Frost reveals she loves a bit of Korean bad guy and turns on J Bond and oh god isn't this exciting, no? But it's a twist! Twists = excitement. Stupid.
We then get some pretty good fast car on ice, gadget filled chasing action. Which if you didn't know from the 6 months of trailers, promotions and merchandising were a Jaguar XKR and an Austin Martin Vanquish, on sale now! Things get a bit melty when bad guy turns his space laser on to his ice hotel drowning the increasingly incompetent Jinx, until thank goodness, Bond to the rescue...oh James.
Better get to our denouement, and it's back to North Korea where Korean, remember, bad guy is trying to convince his KOREAN dad that his space laser is the mutts nuts and proceeds to blow up all the land mines in the DMZ. Things come to a head on a big old plane which James and Jinx find themselves on with Gustav, the Korean, bad guy, who has decided to fashion what can only be described as a Robocop inspired exo-suit to better control his space laser...seriously.
It all kick off, Bond fights robo-Gustav whilst Jinx takes on a for some reason, scantily clad Ms Frost. Things don't go well when they fly straight through the space lasers beam, which causes the plane a few problems but it's certainly not full on vaporisation.
After finally getting bored of punching the most punchable face in cinema history Bond puts robo-Korean-Ginge out of his misery by illustrating the opening of a parachute near a jet engine is never a good idea...
Time for an escape, something subtle, something charming? Nah let's drop a helicopter out of a plane and start it in free fall...
Needless to say we end with Bond + Bond girl in a sex shelter, this time a surprisingly understated cottage...
You may have guessed from the above that I don't particularly rate this Bond film. Unfortunately I decided that a dictatorship wasn't appropriate for scoring CURRYBOND, a decision I clearly regret when the scores come in at
Girls n Gadgets - 7.4/10
Cheese - 7.5/10
Action - 6.5/10
Overall - 6.8/10.
One CURRYBONDer scored this film 8/10, I will happily provide his name, number and address if you wish to understand how this came about i.e. blame the scores on Jobbers...
CURRYBOND will return in Shahana + Casino Royale.