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25 April 2014
(menu)

Empire Café

The Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London E8 1EJ

£12.00 Cafes Hackney, Dalston
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  • Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-7pm

Square Meal Review of Empire Café ?

The Hackney Empire’s in-house café (the former Marie Lloyd bar) has been transformed into something out of Urban Pantry by the folks behind the Old Ship Inn a few doors down. The Empire Café shares its neighbour’s enthusiasm for ‘Great British’ produce, but presents it more casually in the form of a (sorry-looking) breakfast buffet, salad bar, carvery & selection of sandwiches & cakes. Service is largely self-service. There are some nice ingredients – Cumbrian air-dried ham & tangy Ticklemore goats’ cheese on the deli counter, for example – but it’s not all such sparkling quality. Vintage shades, funky wallpaper & an antique clock display jazz up the room somewhat, though at its core this is a functional café: good for meal deals, a pre-theatre bite & a drop of (English) wine. The strongest selling point is the sofa-filled mezzanine: as peaceful a hideaway as you’ll find in Hackney Central.

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