LONDON: Johnny Depp shelled out more than $62,000 (BD23,000) for a special celebratory curry dinner with his friends on Sunday evening in Birmingham, England.
Depp, 58, indulged in a feast of “authentic Indian cuisine,” at the Varanasi restaurant, which serves “heavenly recipes and soothing ambience,” according to its website.
The actor – declared a “down-to-earth bloke” by restaurant staff – famously scored a big victory last week when he was awarded a $10.35 million judgment in his brutal defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, 36.
The Edward Scissorhands star was hanging out with his musician friend and collaborator Jeff Beck, 77, and 20 other people in their party at what’s billed as “Birmingham’s largest Indian restaurant.”
Depp has been staying in the UK to join Beck on his tour. He even appeared onstage at several of the guitarist’s shows, including one at London’s Royal Albert Hall late last month.
The father of two travelled to Birmingham to perform with Beck onstage for his show in the city’s Symphony Hall. Depp and his entourage had arrived at the trendy eatery by 7pm and posed for photos with fans, the Daily Mail reported.
The 20,000sqft restaurant was closed so Depp and his friends could eat in private, and they left around midnight.
Mohammed Hussain, operations director of Varanasi, told the outlet: “We had a call out of the blue on Sunday afternoon saying that Johnny Depp wanted to come to eat with a group of people.”
“I was shocked, and at first, I thought it might have been a wind up (joke). But then his security team arrived (and) checked out the restaurant, and we let them have the whole place because we were concerned that he might be bothered by other diners,” he continued.
Hussain described how the chefs prepared a feast for the Pirates of the Caribbean star that included delicacies such as shish kebabs, chicken tikka, paneer tikka masala, lamb karahi and tandoori king prawns.
The Independent reported that they also dined on tomato chutney, caramelised pineapple chutney, pickled okra masala, Himalaya mustard crushed potato and black stone flower heeran.
The executive also shed some light on the evening, noting that Depp was a “very lovely, down-to-earth bloke.”
“(He) spent a lot of time speaking with the staff, our friends and family and was happy to pose for pictures with them. You would never have thought that he was such a big star. He had a lot of time for us all,” Hussain gushed.
Hussain also stated that he promised he wouldn’t reveal the full bill total, but said that “money was no issue, and it was easily in five figures.”
He added, “We made more money from Depp’s visit than we did from our busiest night of the week, which is a Saturday when we have around 400 diners.” The feast ended with simple cheesecake and panna cotta for dessert.
Hussain then recalled the most surprising moment of the night, when Depp “wanted a little break from everybody” for about 20 minutes and sat with him in his office.
Hussain said the A-lister wanted to people-watch on CCTV in his office and was interested in how the cameras worked.
He explained that he didn’t ask the Kentucky native about the court case. “It was just a nice conversation with a very humble man. I’m still pinching myself, because I never dreamt that Johnny Depp would be in my office having a chat about how the CCTV in the restaurant works,” Hussain said. “It was a real honour to have him here.”