What's for Lunch? Exceline

By tikichris Last edited 129 months ago
What's for Lunch? Exceline

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.

Last Updated 24 July 2007


Great review - fixed price, "all you can eat" restaurants are such a good idea for workday lunches when you're not sure exactly what you want or how much you want to eat. However, if the food is below average quality and likely to upset your stomach, all you can eat is going to be a very small amount indeed - only the cash till is going to win in the deal. It's good to be forewarned!


Yeah, that's the thing. Just a warning based on firsthand experience. Nobody wants a tummy ache for lunch!


Greasy??, I am sure not.
It is possible if your tummy is used to sandwiches to ramble a bit when you eat freshly cooked food.
Exceline probably offers some of the most recommended dishes of meats, vegetables, roasts and truely freshly prepared food without the peril of too much grease that dogs cheapish places that cut on costs by compromising on quality of the food.
I am sure the queues on these buffets must have something to do with quality and taste, not just that you can eat as much as you can for a fiver....