CURRYBOND #23 Saravanaa Bhavan + Skyfall
The Curry Leg
22 curry restaurants down. You would think we've seen it all. But hot on the heels of our first CURRYBOND buffet comes our first all vegetarian curry place, Saravanaa Bhavan. Somewhat delayed in the CURRYBOND running order after some mild trepidation about an evening without both beer and meat. However, it's time has come, and we've come prepared with our very own CURRYBOND (almost) vegetarian, Di to raise the spirits of the meat loving die hards amongst us.
Saravanaa Bhavan, is nestled nicely among the classics of the CURRYBOND corridor on Tooting High Street. Adorned with a white and red neon sign that certainly draws the eye, as well as an impressive list of other countries you can find similar fare, from USA to UAE, Kuwait to Qatar. Inside, it's fairly standard low key furnishings with bright lights and metal trays overflowing with veggie curry goodness. It's busy when we arrive and busy when we leave maintaining a nice hum of atmosphere throughout.
Venue Score - 7.5/10.
We've got a solid turnout this time with most of the CURRYBOND regulars back on board. The menu is extensive and somewhat overwhelming...The inevitable curry greed kicks in and we proceed to order far too much food starting with some tasty sounding starters, Devilled Potato, Samosa, Chana Batura, Cocktail Idl, Masala Dosa, Paneer 65 and Onion Bhajis.
Everything emerges extremely promptly but nonetheless everything tastes fresh straight out of the kitchen. The Chana Batura is spiced chickpeas accompanied by a mega puri which could have enveloped a small child! The cocktail Idls come first after a recommendation from our waiter and are excellent bite sized crunchy balls with a variety of chutneys to dip along with. My dosa is suitably giant, crispy and filled with tasty veg masala goodness. A lovely start then, for the most part...One of the lessons learnt from the curry journey has been South India is certainly not the home of the onion bhaji...Bhaji Score 2/10.
It's not long before our mains emerge, in fact the prompt delivery starts to cause us some serious table space issues with metal trays quickly stacking up. After some stacking logistics we tuck to the main attractions. Mushroom Rogan Josh, Paneer Jalfrezi, Vegetable Butter Masala, Vegetable Jalfrezi and a full Indian meal presented in a lovely Thali tray with individual pots of intrigue. It is without exception, delicious. South India is clearly veggie Valhalla. The curries are deep, creamy and moorish, the rice is light, fluffy and fragrant and the breads and warm and crisp. My set meal gives me soup, curry, pickles, chutneys, rice, bread and then sweets! Our only regret is finishing most of the starters leaving limited capacity for the main courses.
Food Score - 8.5/10.
With piles of curry trays and an embarrassing amount of leftovers we call for the bill. Without meat or alcohol to jack up the price we get a solid valued bill of £94.60 which comes in at £15.76/CURRYBONDer.
Value Score - 7.7/10.
So, just when you thought you've done it all, Tooting pops up with yet another curry gem. If veggie's your thing, look no further than Saravanaa Bhavan, which makes a late dart for the top of the CURRYBOND leaderboard. If we'd had a few less CURRYBOND carnivores it might have just made it...
Overall - 8.4/10
The Bond Leg
To the Bond leg we come. This time, Skyfall. I've decided to keep this particular run down quite brief. I could pretend its a post-modern reaction to the increasingly over-long modern cinema experience typified by the 150+ mins spent watching Daniel Craig's latest offering...in reality it's Monday evening, CURRYBOND 24 is tomorrow, I've written 22 of these things this year and I'm a lazy f****r.
Skyfall I think is set apart from every other Bond in that M, played by The Dench, takes centre stage as people keep trying to blow her up or shoot her in the head! No wonder she went to do that Exotic Marigold thing...Yes, it seems M's past is coming back to bite her, specifically mega-creepy bad guy Silva, played by the all conquering Javier Bardem.
So to summarise.
Bond drives a digger on a train...it's awesome!
Bond dies...again, bummer.
Voldemort turns up.
Bond comes back to life...again.
There's a new Q, and he sucks. He has no gadgets and proceeds to infect the whole MI6 IT system by plugging in a dodgy laptop.
The dastardly plan is then revealed to us which on first viewing you just nod along to as the action is so frickin' exciting but on second viewing you realise the following.
- Bad guy Bardem blows up MI6 - because he wants MI6 to move underground He leaves enough breadcrumbs to be caught on purpose, starting with identifiable shrapnel in Bond's shoulder...
- He gets caught with his secret evil laptop He hopes stupid Q will plug his secret evil laptop into the MI6 network, which opens his cell...
- He escapes and in order to evade his inevitable pursuer, Bond, sets off a bomb which is perfectly timed for a tube train to plummet through a hole in the tunnel so he can continue his escape...
- All so he can put on a police costume and walk into a committee room to shoot M in the head?
Jesus! He's either really not had much to do on his abandoned island or this plot just got a bit silly...
Anyway back to it.
Bond and M then head to Bond's modest childhood home on the Scottish Borders...3 bed semi? Not quite...
Time for Home Alone meets Bond...
Clearly decided she's getting too old for this...
Despite the brevity, this is clearly one of the best Bond films, a late contender for the top of the leaderboard with more stunning action, a superb bad guy, interesting if a little far-fetched plot and a genuine booby trap montage...what more could you ask for?
Girls n Gadgets - 5.9/10
Cheese - 3.2/10
Action - 9.0/10
Overall - 8.4/10
With a delightful veggie feast followed by the re-emergence of the good side of the Craig series, our patience is rewarded with the best CURRYBOND so far with an overall score of 8.3/10.
CURRYBOND will return, for one last time, in Afghan Palace + Spectre.