CURRYBOND #11 Spice Village + Moonraker
The Curry Leg
It was the end of May, we were in England...it was obviously cold and wet. So even though all CURRYBOND venues should be within walking distance we lined up a couple of cars for our first CURRYBOND convoy! Seeing as our venue for this week is in the upper reaches of Tooting very much in Bec territory, we were happy to avoid the 20 min walk to The Gorringe in British "Summertime".
10 CURRYBONDs down, it finally happened, recognition. Jobbers, first to arrive was warmly greeted by the patrons of Spice Village with a "welcome, we recognised you from the website", and he wasn't even wearing his I Heart CURRYBOND T-shirt! As the CURRYBONDers filter through we take our place on what can only be described as a curry dais, elevated above the curry masses, clearly reserved for the cream of the curry crop. Special treatment? Maybe? Do we care absolutely not!
Spice Village is certainly a high class curry establishment, plush interior, adorned with chandeliers, purple and cream furnishings, glitz and glamour galore. It has a warming feel and fills up throughout the night creating a lively buzz. The service was quite frankly superb. We should perhaps return to the special treatment, another perk of the curry dais appeared to be our very own waiter, literally attending to our every need.
Whilst this is possibly not the case for every patron to Spice Village seven days a week, again we don't care! It was great! All this adds up to our best curry experience so far with three 10s from the CURRYBONDers! Giving Spice Village and impressive Venue score 9.4/10 However, these CURRYBONDers have been around the balti block and aren't swayed by the pretty packaging, it comes down to the curry. We kick off with a round of popadoms which went down a treat followed by a nice selection of starters, Lamb Samosas, Tandoori Chicken Wings, Chatpata, Seekhe Lahore and our Bhaji's for the evening. We're pretty satisfied, good sounds all round, we're even treated to what can only be a Bond inspired concoction of chilled chickpeas in a Martini glass! The bhaji's were good, sizeable rostis with a good crunch and a warming spice. They get a bhaji score of 7/10.
So far so good, great venue, great service and a solid set of starters. But the real test comes when the curry comes to town. On the menu, Murgh Dopiaza, Balti Murgh, Balti Ghosht, Karahi Jheenga, Ghosht Rogan Josh, Murgh Makhnila, Chicken Tikka Masala, Pilau rice, Garlic Naans and the now mandatory Cheese Naan. Things looked good, some nice authentic Karahi dishes, sizzling hot plates and some good looking garnish. We also got a strong recommendation from our hosts to sample the Fish Masala, whilst none of the CURRYBONDers were feeling overly fishy this evening our hosts were so keen to show off this special we were presented with a portion gratis!
Perfection it seems however is not quite so easy to grasp. Whilst the curry was pretty tasty the general consensus was fine but a little disappointing. A little heavy, a little salty, and not overly distinctive. So falling a little short on the food scores getting a Food score of 6.9/10.
The bill arrives at a fairly lofty120.30 that's17.18/CURRYBONDer and considering Spice Village is another alcohol free establishment this comes in at the top end of curry prices in Tooting. Freebies aside, the portions were good and we certainly left satisfied.
Value score of 6.9/10.
So Spice Village certainly tops the bill if you're looking to impress a curry virgin with the sparkles and soft furnishings but if you're hosting a curry veteran with taste buds scarred from past skirmishes with phaals and vindaloos then they may file the curry fare on offer in the middle of their roller deck.
Spice Village gets and Overall score of 7.9/10.
Overall therefore Spice Village still joins Dosa N Chutney right at the top of the CURRYBOND leaderboard, with a venue score that looks difficult to top.
The Bond Leg
It's 1979, just two years after Star Wars hit the screens and changed the face of film themed lunch boxes everywhere. The Bond franchise it seems wasn't immune to the effects, with Moonraker bumping For Your Eyes Only from the running order seemingly because it was somewhat spacey...
We've been riding the Roger roller coaster for a good three films now and it's been fun ride for the most part, occasionally hair raising but always leaving you wanting to get back in the queue. In the pantheon of Bond locations throughout the years it seemed inevitable that we would at some stage end up in the heavens, even if we got a Death Star sized nudge in that direction.
We kick things off therefore in a plane, not quite space, but one step at a time. Bond is causing a ruckus and soon enough he's dumped out the side of his jet...without a parachute, same old, same old. We're treated to one of the best opening sequences so far with essentially a fight scene at terminal velocity with our old friend Jaws! We're also introduced to the overarching tone of the film when Jaws' parachute fails and he proceeds to mitigate his plummeting fate by flapping his arms accompanied by circus music...he then falls onto a circus tent...and survives. That's right we're reaching peak cheese in the Bond legacy.
The plot introduces us to Drax industries who make a living building space shuttles and renting them out to NASA, which sounds ominously familiar to a number of current captains of industry, Bezos, Musk, Branson all with excellent Bond villain credentials! Said space shuttle goes missing and Bond is sent to track down it down. After locating a missing sub last time out Bond's clearly mastering the art of tracking down large forms of transport. He scoots around the globe from California (the home of SpaceX, err I mean Drax industries) to Venice, Rio and the Amazon jungle. As Bond travelogues go it's right up there. He's accompanied by our Bond girl Dr. Holly Goodhead, that's right she has a really good...head probably just because she's really smart in the head. He's also trailed around the world by returning henchman-for-hire Jaws. Who is somewhat less bitey and more comedy sidekick, though still terrifying.
This Bond also sees Q branch deliver. It's a serious gadget fest. We get surreptitious wrist dart guns, gondolas that turn into hovercrafts, poison pens, speedboats with emergency hand-gliders and of course lasers, space lasers! Gadget scores go through the roof.
Fast forward to the final act and Bond finds himself on a space shuttle with the good Dr. Head and it's blast off along with seven other bad guy shuttles packed to the brim with lithemale and female beauties from around the world, because this dastardly plot is about procreation! Sounds fun. Except there's this bit in between when Mr. Villain wipes out all human life from the safety of his space station with his devastating super weapon...orchid juice...Which turns out to be some mega deadly poison that only kills humans.
Bond is inevitably caught pretty soon after he lands and to make his escape and blow up the station he employs the services of the man who's been trying to kill him for a good 400 mins of runtime, Mr bitey, Jaws. One carefully placed word and Jaws turns good guy, now accompanied by his newly found blonde beau with pigtails who is equally mute, but equally charming.
Destruction ensues and Bond is reinforced by the latest addition to the US army space corps equipped with rocket space suits and lasers! A battle in space kicks off, a star war if you will...It doesn't quite have the gloss of the Industrial Light and Magic shaped competition but is still pretty fun.
Bond escapes with the Bond girl and perhaps the most cringeworthy entry to the long list of Bond one-liners delivered by a surprising source, head of Q branch, Desmond Llewelyn. When asked by a typically exasperated M, what is Bond doing in his escape sex pod, "well Sir I think he's attempting re-entry...". I think that sums it up.
With all of the classic Bond hallmarks dialled up to 11 ridiculous gadgets, cheesey one-liners galore, crazy stunts and a fight in space with lasers, the scores can only be good.
Girls n Gadgets - 7.9/10
Cheese - 9.0/10
Action - 8.6/10
Overall - 8.4/10
Placing Moonraker alongside The Spy Who Loved Me at the top of the Bond rankings.
Spice Village + Moonraker gets an overall score of 8.1/10.
CURRYBOND will return in Namak Mandi + For Your Eyes Only.