CURRYBOND #7 Lahore Karahi + Diamonds are Forever
The Curry Leg
After the trauma of CURRYBOND #6 things were back to normal. Evening curry on a school night at one of the more iconic Tooting curry venues followed by a much more classic Bond, with the return of Sir Sean of Connery. Welcome back you Scottish, bum-slapping, judo chopping, hat-throwing secret weapon of Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Lahore Karahi was our venue. Another tooting curry staple, taking pride of place on Tooting high Street with its large white and blue sign announcing its presence to the wandering curry masses. This is also CURRYBOND's first visit to the canteen style curry house common to Tooting, offering the casual curry diner a walk-in takeaway option from its buffet style on offer. CURRYBOND however takes the opportunity to soak in the ambience at Lahore and take our seats in the plentiful seating available over two floors.
The restaurant was busy on arrival and continued to fill up to capacity on the ground floor at least. Certainly popular with the locals, was it reflected in the quality of the food or was the giant sign money well spent...?
Overall the cafeteria style combined with the buzzing but echoey ambience sees Lahore Karahi rewarded with a
Venue score of 5.0/10.
The CURRYBONDers are largely prompt, with a full complement seated within 30 minutes. We are welcomed by a friendly face and a bit of a do-it-yourself service with a stack of plates and cutlery provided and after a few requests some glasses for our BYO Cobras. After spending a week across the pond with our American friends our bellies were certainly now used to hefty portions, we might stand a chance at finishing a meal! We get straight into some starters following a descent round of popadoms, on the menu were samosas, seekh kebab, pakora and a couple of portions of the obligatory onion bhaji. They arrived promptly and looked good, crunchy pakora, tasty samosa but what's this? Who ordered the Thai fish cakes? No, this is our latest entry to the bhaji bible, an unusual style with a burger shaped slightly flabby orange fella presented to us it tastes nice but certainly won't trouble the upper echelons of bhaji brilliance, 5/10.
So after a good start, our mains ordered, the CURRYBONDers have a good catch up, the conversation is lively, more patrons file in, the conversation continues, other curry comes out to other people, the conversation wanes, we start to look around, check our watches, 45 minutes and no masala in sight. Disappointing. With a Bond leg still to come this could have serious repercussions. After a polite question of "where's our curry?" A few minutes later it emerges. So after quite a wait, on the menu is ginger chicken, chicken bhuna, chicken jalfrezi, bhuna gosht, chicken Karahi, chilli prawns and of course chicken tikka masala (CTM). The immediate reaction is, all quite brown...subtlety different shades, but mostly just brown...This consistently dour palette is echoed in the flavours with many of the curries tasting quite similar. Many of the chicken dishes also just have chicken + sauce, no veggies, not even a sprinkling of coriander. Having said that most dishes are still flavoursome, the naan is good though just a little too crunchy and the pilau rice is of the neon flecked variety. Overall the food is fine, but not special. The CURRYBONDers give a
Food score of 6.0/10.
So with the evening running away with us we quickly call for the bill and with a BYOB policy, no corkage on our plentiful Cobras the total comes in at £104.75 that's £13.09/CURRYBONDer. Not bad but not the cheapest on offer, Lahore Karahi gets a
Value score of 6.3/10.
The consensus therefore for this famous Tooting curry palace is, "a shrug". So perhaps Lahore has become somewhat complacent with it's signage attracting the locals like curry moths to a rather mediocre flame. Lahore Karahi gets an
Overall score of 5.5/10.
The Bond Leg
After a hurried shuffle back to CURRYBOND HQ we cram in and settle down for Diamonds are Forever and we're immediately welcomed by a lovely bit of Bassey. After the slightly odd use of We Have all the Time in the World in OHMSS this Bond theme really hits the spot. We also welcome Sir Sean and it really feels like we're back in classic Bond territory.
We kick things off with a montage, interesting choice...Bond is out and about quizzing people about Blofeld, including a bikini clad beach go-our who he whips off her bikini top and proceeds to strangle this poor girl with it...ah Sean we missed your lady strangling charm. Soon enough he finds Blo-Blo in his latest lair, I wonder which estate agents specialise in lair rentals...probably Foxtons...After a bit of fight action he wraps up the Blo-fish on a trolley and dumps him in the handily provided boiling mud. Done. Nemesis dead. Probably...
Right what's next in the MI6 inbox? Diamonds, sounds fun. Someone's nicking them from a hugely wealthy diamond corporation...sounds like a job for the government's best spy...
We're also introduced to our henchman for the evening. So far in our Bond journey the only notable entry for the best henchman award has been Oddjob. Enter Mr Kidd and Mr Wint. Probably the best thing about this film, they come accompanied by seriously creepy plinky plonky music, they stalk around murdering everyone who comes into contact with the diamonds, why? It's never really clear, but they seem to enjoy themselves. Oh, and they're gay. Which is revealed in a rather touching sequence after killing a dentist with a scorpion down his back they wander off into the desert hand in hand.
Back to the plot, and Bond is on the hunt for the diamonds, under cover as a diamond smuggler he makes his way to Amsterdam to meet the perpetually scantily clad Jill St. John as Tiffany Case...because she was born in a Tiffany's...case...or something. After some classic Sean seduction Bond's in a lift, a form of transport which features heavily in this Bond film. He proceeds to have a rather good ruck with the guy he's impersonating leaving him decidedly dead at the bottom of the stairs. It seems the director has finally decided to just film the action rather than cut away every three seconds or just speed it up for added confusion.
There's some more diamond chasing then we're in Vegas! A nicely glitzy locale for a Bond film. Though it seems Vegas in 1971 still had someway to go with most of these early scenes resembling a barren Moon-scape rather than a Mecca of bright lights and debauchery. Speaking of Moon-scapes...I duck out to make a mid-film cuppa for the CURRYBONDers who are visibly flagging. When I return laughter fills the room as I'm treated to Bond escaping from some Vegas lab in a Moon buggy! It bounces around the landscape with arms flopping around...I fear the seed of Moonraker had been sown.
There's some more confusing diamond chasing, including a car chase where Bond seems to circle the same Golden Nugget casino eight times when at last, confrontation with the villain. Who is it? BLOFE...Hang on a minute, I killed him in the first scene, hot mud and that. No No, it seems B-Flo has invested in the latest in plastic surgery/ split screen technology and there are two Bloeys! Shit! What to do, OOO kick the cat, cat jumps to Blobey number 1 and BANG! Bond shoots him in the face! Why didn't you do that last time with Telly Savalas, might have still had a wife...Uh oh, he's got a feline plastic surgeon too! Another cat...and inevitably Bond shot the wrong Blowter.
So obviously Bond is captured, obviously Bond escapes, set up another confrontation when we finally figure out what the diamonds are for. Giant Space Laser! At last! A proper Bond dastardly scheme. What the diamonds actually do is unclear...it seems to me a mirror might do the job...anyway B-Lo proceeds to use said space laser to vaporise various nuclear weapons, controlled with the cunning use of a cassette tape...well it is the 70s.
We move to the final confrontation on an oil rig, why not, and there's some excellent mind numbingly stupid Bond girl action from Ms Case including firing a machine gun and bouncing off the oil rig from the recoil. B to the Lo-Feld try's to escape in a little submarine thing until Bond grabs him on the crane and smashes him into a building. Blofe dead, again, probably...
Bond retreats to celebrate on a cruise ship back to Blighty until, creepy plinky plonky music, it's those pesky henchman and they've got room service. One last fight scene then, including burning one of them alive! And Bond is done, world saved, Henchman torched, Bond girl bedded. A good way for Sir Sean to exit the franchise, for good this time.
The CURRYBONDers scored Diamonds are Forever
Girls n Gadgets 4.9/10
Cheese - 5.9/10
Action - 5.1/10
Overall - 5.6/10
This gives a total score for CURRYBOND #7 of 5.5/10
CURRYBOND will return in Al Mirage + Live and Let Die