CURRYBOND #18 Yhaal House + Tomorrow Never Dies

The Curry Leg

Another Tuesday evening, another CURRYBOND scheduled at one of those venues that you tend to walk past on the high street and not really give much thought. Yhaal House was up for CURRYBOND #18 located close the The Gorringe Park pub on Mitcham Road. Having already scoped out the venue to some degree I make a decision which was inevitable at some point in the CURRYBOND marathon, I invoke the takeaway. With a severely limited CURRYBOND cast list and Yhaal House only really having those metal tables you get at the front of takeaways that are pretty much just full of people in their trackies and slippers waiting to pick up a nice warm brown bag of curry treats, it all makes sense.

Venue Score - 3/10.

The CURRYBONDers gather at CURRYBOND HQ and peruse the menu thanks to zomato.com (the best restaurant app I reckon). The curry fare on offer is Sri Lankan for the most part with a sprinkling of curry staples. Having not embraced the specials on offer at a previous Sri Lankan option (CURRYBOND #6 Apollo Banana Leaf) I make sure we delve in to the local delicacies.

I make a short list of interesting looking starters but things don't go well on the phone...no samosas, no bondas...just give us what you have...we get some veggie roll things. The mains are more straight forward and we line up Chicken Kothu, Seafood Kothu, Chicken Madras, Chicken Tikka Masala, a couple of Parothas and a Pilau Rice. Unfortunately, no bhajis but we've got a CTM to set our curry baseline.

Sadly Yhaal House doesn't deliver, but I jump on my bike and take mp place amongst my fellow hungry takeawayers killing time at our metal tables. I'm pleased to say from phone order to pick up it only took about 40mins with a pretty short wait to pick up my fragrant bag. I pedal against the laws of thermodynamics stealing the warmth away from our dinner, carefully navigating the speed bumps creating a small madras flavoured puddle in my bag, but thankfully the majority of the food makes it to the hungry CURRYBONDERs.

First impressions aren't great...the portions are certainly large but there's an overwhelming brownness to the emerging cartons. But, as we have learnt throughout the CURRYBOND saga, don't judge a book covered in curry sauce by it's curry smeared cover. The Kothus in particular look grim, more shallow fried brain but I'm happy to report it was in fact, delicious! Once your tastebuds take over the decision making from your eyes things rapidly improve. The sauced curries are hot, deeply spiced with succulent chunks of chicken. The Kothus have a slightly squishy texture but are heavily spiced and moorish. The Parothas also make an excellent accompaniment.

Food Score - 7.7/10.

The portions are, frankly, huge. We barely make a dent in the Kothus and only one of the curries makes a full escape from its carton. The price for all this is frankly ridiculous, £24 in total! That's a mere £8/CURRYBONDer. Sure I had to provide the transport, cutlery and wash up after, but still...

Value Score - 8.7/10.

For the first time therefore I get to make the most out of the leftovers, with Curry Leg part 2 and 3 the next day. The reheated version held up for the most part and the after effects were...tolerable.

Overall Score - 7.3/10.

The Bond leg

The demarcation of the curry and Bond legs becomes blurry in CURRYBOND #18. We plonk the table in from of the tele at get stuck into our starters alongside the cold open of the second edition of the pierce Brosnan Bond era, Tomorrow Never Dies. Things kick off well, it's cold, there are Russians around, and a shit tonne of weapons. Bond is stalking around as one of his cooler monikers, White Knight. Back in Blighty he's being ordered around by the cast of As Time Goes By...

Needless to say things kick off when Admiral Lionel fires a cruise missile at Russia until Bond informs them they're about to blow up a bunch of nukes, whoops! We get a nice shot of what must be one of the earliest uses of good CG in a Bond film (Moonraker does not count as good CG) as we follow the cruise missile on its path to destruction. Bond nicks the nukes, attached to a jet and takes off for some excellent dog fighting action which concludes with Bond ejecting an unwanted passenger into another jet...skills.

We get a pretty dull Bond title sequence with an underwhelming song by Cheryl Crow, it was the 90s I guess...

Our next sequence sees a suitably British boat with lots of very British sailors cruising around neutral waters...or are they. Yep turns out our evil super weapon this time is a little red box that tells boats they took the third sea to the left not the second...Meanwhile there's a Die Hard reject bad guy in a stealth boat causing trouble launching a drill torpedo, a drillpedo if you will, to sink said boat and pinch their missiles. But the best bit is, they blame it on the Chinese! But how is anyone going to know about it...?

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That's right it's the evil media mogul super villain film. Elliot Carver played by Jonathon Pryce who's performance certainly wouldn't be describes as subtle...is our villain, intent on starting World War 3 and making his millions by selling newspapers and magazines...it seems his henchman haven't broken the news to him about the Internet...

Back to the plot, and Bond is sent to "infiltrate" Carver's Apple-esque product launch using his "spy skills", you know the ones, "hi, my names James Bond, no not the spy, obviously...". So Bond turns up in Hamburg, the obvious place to launch a worldwide media network, where we meet both our Bond girls. First up is Louis Lane herself, Teri Hatcher who adequately fulfills the role of quickly murdered-after-shagging-James Bond girl. Our second, and longer lasting Bond girl, Wai Lin comes fresh out of Crouching Tiger, Bond is always quick to jump on a bandwagon, and this one is driven by Michelle Yeoh.

After said murder of Louis Lane we get probably the best scene in the film clearly stolen by chief torturer Dr. Kauffman, with my favourite line delivered in a comedy German accent, "I could shoot you from Stuttgart and still make it look like an accident!". Unfortunately the criminally underused Kauffman comes to an early end after some classic Bond gadgetry and it's time for an escape scene.

Bond's latest car, a BMW continuing the German themed sponsorship of this film, is handily equipped with a remote control. Bond goes all Dukes of Hazard and we get an excellent action sequence with Bond driving around a multi-storey car park, sitting in the back seat on his phone...I remember Nokia 8210s in the 90s, that's no joke.

Unfortunately we then get the overly familiar boring middle third of the Bond film. True, there's quite a fun bike/helicopter chase scene but things generally plod along with no real consequence.

We therefore make it to the denouement aboard the stealth boat. Again, there's not a great face-off, particularly when the bad guy is Jonathon Pryce, not the most physically threatening villain so comes to a pretty speedy demise as he's chewed up by the drillpedo. Boat blows up, henchman, blows up, Bond surfaces with Bond girl for a classic snog amidst the wreckage. Bond checklist complete.

So overall the second outing for Pierce Brosnan is perhaps the difficult second album, some classic Bond elements, a good start but a slow decline to a flat ending. Tomorrow Never Dies scores

Girls n Gadgets - 6.3/10

Cheese - 7.3/10

Action 7.7/10

Overall - 7.0/10.

Our first takeaway and combined CURRYBOND experience results in an overall score for CURRYBOND #18 of 7.2/10.

CURRYBOND will return in Cinnamon Garden + The World is not Enough