You might remember Mark Roberts from famous streaks including the Fred Talbot Weather Island Streak, the Champions League Streak and the work that was arguably his Sistine Chapel, the 2004 Superbowl Streak. But John Farrar’s ‘First Cut’ debut film finds the 49-year-old Scouser in reflective mood. The bailiffs are at his door, his kids are embarrassed and it’s time to stop. But does he have one more big job in him?
This could be a quirkily fascinating film. There’s something adrift and even mildly tragic about Roberts: some itch that, even stark-bollock naked, he can’t quite scratch. But while Farrar’s style is heavily indebted to the likes of Louis Theroux and Jon Ronson, he can’t quite manage the levels of unconscious revelation they sometimes conjure. So too often, he’s left with hyperbole. Is doing a final streak really ‘the biggest decision of Mark’s life’? Is it really fair to say that Mark ‘seems to have lost his bottle’ when it looks more like he’s just grown up? There’s a lesson for documentary-makers here: sometimes, you just have to let the story tell itself.
The definition of redemption is ‘the action of being saved from sin, error or evil’. But don’t let that put you off visiting this oh-so-healthy eatery. Redemption’s not on any sort of preachy mission. Despite the lack of booze, and the abundance of vegan and wheat- or dairy-free options, a meal here is not a hair-shirt experience. The restaurant – which follows three successful pop-ups – has non-alcoholic beer and a small range of mocktails served in vintage-style glasses. The Apple ‘Mock-jito’ was refreshingly minty, and the ‘Lettuce Spray’ a full-bodied blend of iceberg, lime, wasabi and aloe vera. But it’s the food that really stands out. The grilled aubergine slices with tahini were chewy – almost caramelised. If we hadn’t polished off every morsel of our beetroot-and-barley risotto, and raw courgette spaghetti with walnut-and-sesame pesto, we might have left room for pudding. Sadly, we lacked the willpower. At an adjacent table our neighbours opted for a cashew, coconut and strawberry ‘cheesecake’. We eyed it covetously, plotting a return visit. Redemption now have a second site, in Shoreditch. Time Out eating & drinking editors.
Venue says: “Spoil yourself without spoiling yourself at 'London's healthiest restaurant'. Vegan, alcohol-free, sugar-free, wheat-free. But still fun.”