CURRYBOND #9 Onam + Live and Let Die
This is the redemption CURRYBOND. Both the curry and bond leg have had their chances. Both were victims of the CURRYBOND gods wrath after minor swerves on the course of the CURRYBOND superhighway. But on such an arduous journey through tikkas, bhajis, jet packs, midgets and space lasers we roll with the punches, get back in the saddle and cliche our way back on course.
The Curry Leg
It's back to Kerala for our latest curry leg. Onam, situated at the southern most tip of the curry corridor of Tooting High St, conveniently located around the corner fromCURRYBOND HQ, I have observed this unassuming venue for some time. From the outside it rocks the black and red signage with red and gold curtains, a bold statement, somewhat let down by the biryani lunch special poster in the window. Fortunately inside is a cosy affair resulting in a solid
Venue Score - 7.1/10
As we enter, expecting to take our seats in the often empty at 7pm on a Tuesday restaurant, we are presented with not only one other table of curry patrons but two CURRYBONDers raring to go! Jobbers, clearly humiliated by his late showing in CB#8, and The Banker, who is typically so tardy I assumed he was just turning up for CURRYBOND #8 two weeks late...Kudos to The Banker though, who now moves joint second in the attendance race after a no-show from Shethers.
We're soon joined by a welcome appearance from the Chief Cashier and the ever reliable George's Legacy and Rimmsy. Plenty of CURRYBONDers to get stuck in to some starters, and what starters! CURRYBOND is not specifically tracking starter quality, but if we were, these would go straight to the top of the list. On order were Vegetable Somosas, Poori Chana, Plain Dosa(i), Special Prawn Poori and Ulli Vada (aka onion bhajis). They were all excellent. The bhajis were of the rosti variety accompanied by a lovely raita, crunchy, hot, and moorish. A definite bhaji score of 8/10.
The pooris were puffed up and filled with a delicious prawn curry fare, tasty samosa and a very good dosa, not quite Dosa N Chutney levels but what is...Special mention to the accompanying dips and sauces particularly a heavily minted fella with a kick of chilli which should be mandatory with all deep fried things you put in your mouth.
After feeling pretty good about things we turn back to the menu to sample the serious curry. The options on offer are relatively limited compared to the catalogue of curries often presented to us but we are intrigued by a number of Keralan specials which we decide to dive straight into. Up next came Lamb Rogan, Nadan Kozhi, Nadan Erachi, Nadan Chicken Biryani, Appam and Stew, Chef's Special Aubergine and the closest we could find to the reference a Chicken Madras. We stick with our Keralan decision and go tropical with the sides with garlic and coconut parathas and coconut and pilau rice.
The consensus seems to be ...mmmmm! That's right who needs a thesaurus when you've got onomatopoeia. BOSH! The curry was excellent, in particular the specials on offer. My Appam and Stew turned out to be this slightly sour, yoghurty, crispy on the outside squidgy in the middle pancake thing shaped like a sombrero, which to be honest I wasn't a huge fan of. It came with a delicious curry "stew" that was sweet, spicy and flavourful. Other curries were more meaty in flavour often with lamb or chicken on the bone. The biryani was giant but equally delicious. Thumbs up all round, resulting in
Food Score - 8.1/10.
There seems to be something about Keralan curries that requires these slightly small colour rimmed bowls. In a previous slightly disappointing venue (see CB#3) this resulted in small portions, fortunately Onam fill these little bowls to the brim with curry so we certainly weren't left hungry! We were back on the Cobra for this outing but no BYOB certainly adds to the bill which came in at £116 equating to £16.57/CURRYBONDer. It is worth pointing out however that there is a 50% off food offer if you have a Tastecard, sadly mine expired last month...We therefore give Onam
Value Score - 7.0/10.
So after many months of dismissing my most local of curry options, Onam has risen from the ashes of obscurity to take its place among the upper end of the Tooting curry elite. Onam gets an
Overall Score - 7.7/10.
The Bond Leg
With another daylight finish, we waddle, bellies full, to the Bond Leg HQ, The Gorringe. CURRYBOND makes a sneaky appearance amongst another cinema legacy on show...the force is strong with this one...
We make the most of the cinema snacks on offer, it's posh-corn time! And make our way downstairs and thanks to our hosts new Blu-Ray player all nervousness of another mis-hap is banished, mostly...
The inaugural Roger Moore outing kicks off with a severe absence of the eye-brow waggling master. Instead we're plunged into the world of voodoo!...and Jazz...and murder! We jump around the Caribbean and New Orleans for a variety of jazz infused killings which probably have something to do with the plot, until, titles...
"When you were young and your heart, was an open book..." That's right, possibly the best Bond theme, delivered by Macca and the Mrs, perhaps sets the bar unrealistically high for the rest of the film...We're soon introduced to Sir Rog who sets the tone for his Bond era by lounging half naked after pleasuring an Italian girl, "Oh James!". We're also treated to a tour around Bond's crib. A fascinating insight into secret agent coffee machines which M clearly disapproves of. Espresso Bond!? He must be a half-cap skinny soy vanilla latte man...
Turns out all those murders were secret agents and M is pissed. Bond is sent to find out what happened.
And that, is pretty much the only plot you get for the entire film...
So, where to this time in Bond on tour? Harlem, New Orleans and the Caribbean...obviously! This is the voodoo, Afro, jazz bond! James arrives in New York, and it's probably a good time to address one particular aspect of Live and Let Die, black folk. Now of course Bond films have had black characters in the past, they are typically big fat fisherman who turn out to be some undercover CIA agent who's particularly adept at catching the odd sea bass and transporting James to a secret lair. There hasn't been any overt race issue unless of course you're Asian...but in Live and Let Die almost every other character is black...and they're all bad guys...(except token CIA guy). It seems every black guy in New York not only works for the villain, but also keeps a 2-way radio hidden about their person just in case the most white man in the northern hemisphere turns up. Just when you think he's met a friendly black cabby, he turns on his radio and villainy ensues. One may argue this is a clever fliparoo of the Blaxsploitation films of the 70s (Shaft, Super Fly etc) but to these CURRYBONDers it feels a bit British Empire, a bit off...
On to the typical Bond being stalked around foreign country scenes and we're treated to a wide selection of Bond baddies, they obviously have one thing in common, and it's not hooks for hands...
Soon enough Bond is confronted by Kananga/Mr. Big our villain who is revealed to be BOTH very similar looking men with the aid of a fake face...generally a pretty lack lustre villain, he keeps a pet fortune teller, obvs. That's where Blofeld went wrong, couldn't predict the future! Said fortune teller, tarot card reader, is our Bond girl for the evening, Solitaire (get it...) played by the lovely Jane Seymour. She's very much an "Oh James!" Bond girl, good at looking pretty but not much else. Doesn't take long before Bond decides this beauty needs-a-bedding, and what better way than subterfuge! Hey, beats brute force...
Bond takes time out of the 007ing and nips into the nearest bespoke tarot card shop and picks up a dastardly sexy deck. He plays his lovers card(s) and the train is firmly on its way through the tunnel...
Some other stuff happens and soon enough Bond is back in the clutches of the bad guy, and it's about time he reveals his dastardly plot and refuses to kill Bond. So, this time the idea is to make a shit load of heroin and give it all away...I mean...it's no space laser...and perhaps reinforces the slightly off feel of all these black people making drugs and corrupting the civilised white folk just for the sake of it! Bond is handed over to henchman number 12 who has seen his fair share of Bond films and knows shooting in the face is just not cricket, eaten by crocodiles is much more appropriate.
The now useless Solitaire, because after one night with Bond he knocks the psychic right out of her, is handed off for sacrifice to King of Voodoo, Baron Samedi! It's not clear who bestowed Mr Samedi with his peerage but he certainly makes the most of it with a splendid top hat. He's also one of the more fun characters to shoot in Goldeneye multi-player...bullets go straight through that hat!
We're about half way through at this stage and it's about time for a car chase, or in this case, boat chase. Unfortunately this turns into the most interminably long and boring chase scene experienced thus far. They even change boats half way through, presumably after running out of fuel! There's also the debut of the ridiculous Sgt Pepper, the less said about him the better.
Following this boating bore-fest there are few CURRYBONDers still conscious. Those that are roused by the final confrontation are at least treated to a surprisingly "explosive" ending...certainly the best thing this bad guy did all film.
I think the overall opinion of Live and Let Die is best summed up by some quotes from the CURRYBOND Comments
"CRAP", "racist, again", "dull", "interminable", "BORING!".
The scores therefore for Live and Let Die are
Girls n Gadgets - 4.1/10
Cheese - 5.0/10
Action - 3.2/10
Overall - 3.8/10
So after a promising start the Bond leg really lets down CURRYBOND #9 which gets and overall score of 5.8/10.
CURRYBOND will return in Sree Krishna + The Spy Who Loved Me