Respond to Review of CLOSED: POGO Cafe
Review: In the interests of providing an important counter-balance to the last review, I feel I need to strongly make the point that in no way does Pogo Cafe even come close to being a rival to Foodswings in Brooklyn. Although Foodswings may not be the best vegan cafe in New York City, (there are many fantastic veg*n cafes and restaurants in NYC including a vegan Japanese restaurant with 2 Michelin stars!) the fact is that Foodswings is an 'institution' in it's own right and I would not hesitate in rating it 5 - I have tried most things on the menu in my trips to NYC and have survived 2 of The Vegan Heart Attack burgers with fries in a single visit! However, I still feel a need to defend Pogo Cafe in part because it is 100% vegan, run by vegan volunteers and it does provide a quasi drop-in/social outlet for vegans/squatters/volunteers/locals...but this can be a double-edged sword. For instance the 'packet mix' used to make the burgers is of poor quality, some volunteers are miserable and clearly not tuned into serving diners, (I was once served at the counter by a squatter who was wearing really filthy clothes...blue jeans that were covered in black soot/grease), the tables are regularly left untidy without being cleaned and the place usually looks dishevelled...moreover, the food is not of a consistently reasonable quality because it depends on which volunteers are on the rota, so it is rather a hit or miss affair on the day you visit. That said, it is located in a fairly rough part of East London which does not contain any other veg*n cafes or restaurants, it relies on the goodwill of volunteers to keep operating...and sometimes a volunteer produces a fantastic vegan cake! So it is worth supporting, but just do not go there with the misconception that the Pogo Cafe in any way serves the best vegan in the world...or even in London: it serves average vegan food if there is a decent volunteer cook on rota. As long as you go to Pogo Cafe with an open mind and the knowledge that is is not a commercially-run cafe, then hopefully you will be served by one of the more friendly volunteers and have your food cooked by a volunteer who is on the rota and has experience in good food preparation. Although I will rate it 2, which is fair, please support this place now and again if you are in the area and help keep a veg*n joint in Hackney! Take cash - no credit cards.