Londonist asks that most pressing of daily concerns: where to go on your lunch break.
175 Mare Street London, E8 3RH
Expect to Pay: £5 for buffet
Rating: 3 out of 10
We suppose it was inevitable that, eventually, Londonist would happen upon a substandard lunch in this sprawling metropolis. Still, it’s a pity because we really wanted to give Hackney’s Exceline, an “eat as much as you can” East African buffet, a rousing review. Upon entering, this restaurant seemed to have a lot going for it: value for money pricing (all you can eat for five quid), a modest yet clean dining area with a homey, refreshingly non-corporate, atmosphere, and an incredibly sweet and super friendly cashier. However, soon after our visit we realized it was our gastro-civic duty to post our tale of a less than optimal meal.
That lunch left our tummy in such an unsettled state that we couldn’t complete a subsequent bus ride for fear of getting sick. And it’s not like we gorged ourselves either. To be honest, we were hoping to eat copious amounts but halfway through our first helping, we stopped; the food (a limited assortment of rice, bean stew, fried chicken, fried fish, ribs and injera) was just too greasy and unappetizing for our tastes. Londonist knows how satisfactory a proper East African meal can be and, thus, were highly disappointed by the poor quality of food at Exceline.
For the record, the Beeb appears to like this place, having these kind words to say about Exceline: “It is a venue with a warm ambience and dedicated catering for the public to enjoy African food in an [sic] good atmosphere.” If you must … Exceline offers its £5 lunch buffet (including drink) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:30 – 2:30pm and £10 buffet (excluding drink) on Sundays from 1:00pm.
Photography by Tiki Chris © 2007.