CLOSED: POGO Cafe

Overall rating: 4.5 stars 25 Reviews
Volunteer-run vegan cafe in the east end of London offering food and a variety of vegan desserts. Features rotating aart exhibits plus live music some nights. Reported closed to HappyCow Aug 2013. Price: Inexpensive more-less
Vegan, Organic, International
reviews

Reviews

First Review by MrFalafel
Aya
Aya
  • vegan
Contributions
+172

Yummy!

5 Posted on 07 / 11 / 2013

I visit Pogo Cafe every time I go to London. Their brunches are amazing! Burgers are very good, too. All portions are generous. They also have a good selection of desserts: cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, ice-cream, etc.
It's a punk place, but everything is very well organized. ;)
They also sell books and t-shirts.
Definitely worth visiting. However, the place is very popular, so sometimes it can get crowded.

Updated from previous review on Thursday July 11, 2013

Pros: Yummy food, Generous portions, Friendly staff, good prices
TMcC
TMcC
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+36

Cute place, very cheap

3 Posted on 03 / 14 / 2013

I went here a few months ago with my boyfriend. The place was run by two volunteers who and it was their first day! The food menu was limited, but they had lots of hot drinks etc. We had a veggie pastie, salad and a tea for about 2pounds! This place has a lot of potential, but permanent staff and a wider menu would make it a great cafe.

Pros: Good selection of hot drinks, Lots of literature for sale
Cons: Limited food menu
MatthewWilliamson
MatthewWilliamson
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+11

AMAZING

5 Posted on 02 / 14 / 2013

Really amazing vibe, felt like an awesome community who really care about where the food comes from and that you're enjoying it. me and my fiancée went for valentines night which might not fit everyones idea of a romantic night out but if you consider yourself to be a hippie or a conscious person then this is a great place to go and enjoy. Peace and love and thanks for the lovely food

Pros: really tasty food, large portions , friendly and warm staff

EthicRanger
EthicRanger
  • raw
Contributions
+28

Example how similar ethical food can start

5 Posted on 02 / 04 / 2013

place is very simple and very strong in activism

Pros: place is very simple but very strong in , a lot info, have stickers
Cons: no living food options
Guest
Guest

could be a lot better

3 Posted on 10 / 04 / 2012

I have been here a couple of times as i feel it is my duty as a vegan to support small veggie businesses. However i have found the place to be lacking in service and food. The things i went in for on both occasions were not available. After ordering alternatives following a list of other unavailable items we had to wait bids for our food and we were the only people there. Some of the food was charred and not yes nice at all. However the baker and coffee were good. Not a place i will be visiting again soon even though it is on my doorstep.

Pros: independent , community ethics
Cons: slow service, often run out of items, staff not very friendly
anarchistanimal
anarchistanimal
  • vegan
Contributions
+349

Are you a vegan or a foodie?

5 Posted on 07 / 25 / 2012

How you feel about Pogo will depend on what your theory of social change is. If you think that we're going to liberate animals and save the planet by turning veganism into an elite foodie fad where you pay £100 for a meal, then there's plenty of places in London for you - and you should probably avoid Pogo. On the other hand if you think that cheap, wholesome food prepared by volunteers in a working-class community is a better way to inspire everyday people to go vegan, then you'll love Pogo. It's friendly and communal, with a good atmosphere of radical and vegan politics.

I had a soup, a salad and a burger which were all great. The people at the table next to me were raving about the cake they were having. I also got to check out the radical books and zines which are on sale (some are free). I'm inspired that a place like pogo exists. I reckon everyone who wants to build a real movement for veganism and ecological social change should visit!

Pros: Volunteer, Radical, Great value
VeganGlutton
VeganGlutton
  • vegan
Contributions
+26

Vegan cafe run by vegan volunteers in Hackney

2 Posted on 07 / 12 / 2012

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.

Pros: 100% vegan, Sometimes great vegan cakes
vegan_ryan
vegan_ryan
  • vegan
Contributions
+748

Contender for best vegan spot EVER

5 Posted on 06 / 29 / 2012

This place rivals the almighty Foodswings in NYC. I've done a lot of traveling, been to lots of vegan/veg spots over the years, but this place is one of (if not THE) best.

Everything here is delicious, the staff is all-volunteer, it's locally-run/non-corporate, and they don't expect you to hurry up/get out/make space for other people to come in and spend money.

There's really nothing not to like about this place. Bugers? Great. Salads? Great. Desserts? Super great.

Go here.

If you missed what I said, here it is again: Go here.

Pros: All-vegan, Relaxed, Delicious to the max
Cons: Not centrally located
MasonLegrange
MasonLegrange
  • vegan
Contributions
+27

Nice

4 Posted on 06 / 22 / 2012

A bit hit and miss but 80 per cent of the time the food is really amazing, they keep coming with new recipes which makes the place exciting


sixjaw
sixjaw
  • vegan
Contributions
+24

Chilled dining experience

5 Posted on 04 / 20 / 2012

Going to Pogo is like walking into somebody's slightly scruffy living/dining room. Like visiting a (kind) person's house, it has a pleasant and relaxed vibe. I had to wait about half an hour for my friend to show up and I only bought a milkshake while I waited (delicious!), but at no point did I feel pressured to buy something else or get out. That in itself is an oasis in the city of London.

We both had the Punk Burger, which is enormous and yummy. Came with loads of homemade potato wedges and a big salad. Was pretty full up after that but managed to fit in some German Chocolate cake - heavenly! Took home a couple of the adorable cupcakes and they were great too.

The staff were friendly and relaxed, and the bathroom has the best decoration of any I've visited.

If you like yummy, unpricey food and a chilled out environment, then I recommend wholeheartedly.

Pros: Lovely food, Cheap, Nice atmosphere
Cons: Location - bit far out
Dula
Dula
  • vegan
Contributions
+47

Pogo is a vegan must in London!

5 Posted on 12 / 11 / 2011

You must visit pogo - nice environment, tasty food, really low price. I have spent there one afternoon on my visit in London and it was really cool. You are not pushed to buy anything all the time, you can relax and just enjoy the atmosphere. At least vegans should support places like this one.


darrenmasters
darrenmasters
  • vegan
Contributions
+25

Love this place

5 Posted on 06 / 15 / 2011

friendly, non corporate, great food, too great in fact, I always stuff myself when here.Shame its a bit out of the way though.

Pros: food, staff, atmostphear
Cons: location
ChristopherNeko
ChristopherNeko
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+13

Best Vibe!

5 Posted on 06 / 14 / 2011

It is such a breath of fresh air to have this kind of positive community veganism based in an otherwise corporate v. humanity city.
The food is always delicious especially on the weekend when you can get almost all day vegan breakfast specials!
I think the fact that the entire staff is volunteer speaks for itself on how amazing this place is.
DEFINITELY CHECK OUT! ***MUST SEE*** in London.

Pros: 100% Vegan, Affordable, Tasty
catzie
catzie
  • vegan
Contributions
+45

LOve this place

5 Posted on 04 / 08 / 2011

I have gone to several vegan places in London, but nothing could be compared with the quality and the low price they ask for at Pogo. They make their own organic salads, burgers, wedges really from scratch and you can taste the difference with some restaurants who use freezing in and microwaves :s Since it is a volunteer run cafe, so no profit in the mind, the energy that is put into making the food takes it to a whole another level!!!:D Thank you Pogo

Pros: fresh made food, price, atmosphere
margypargy
margypargy
  • vegan
Contributions
+54

Go go go Pogo!!

5 Posted on 11 / 23 / 2010

Love this place! It's definitely quirky: one time we went and they had no glasses or cutlery and we had to wait for the dishwasher to finish. The friend we'd taken thought this was very funny and we still talk about it now. The food is 100% vegan and it's of the hearty, satisfying variety. It's made by vegans who understand the need for a full-fat burger plus all the trimmings, or a huge breakfast to soak up the excesses of the night before. Best place for a roast in London.

Pros: Really satisfying, filling food, 100% vegan, Very Clapton vibe
Cons: Can be unpredictable
veggiegoth
veggiegoth
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+121

nice alternative vegan cafe

4 Posted on 09 / 06 / 2010

went to pogo and had a good lunch. i had a sandwich of some sorts with a salad. it was quite good. took a while to get food but it was ok i just checked out the place while i waited. friendly staff.


moonbug
moonbug
  • vegan
Contributions
+55

happy vegan anarchist co-op

5 Posted on 02 / 16 / 2010

Pogo's is a co-op, so all the staff are volunteers, they often run free workshops in the evenings and show films on Monday nights. They offer free wifi and computers and books to read, so it's a place where people can relax rather than "eat and run".

The food is delicious and cheap, usually several cakes on offer and all of the food is filling and of excellent quality. I love the Sunday breakfast- it's a must if you are in London on a Sunday. They have two options- the Devil which is a fry-up (mushrooms, spuds, pancake, beans, rasher, sausage etc) and the Angel which is alot healthier (hommus, bread, salads etc)!

Pros: good food, cheap
Cons: difficult to get to
Jemima
Jemima
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+350

Contender for best burger in London

3 Posted on 08 / 25 / 2009

The window is metal wired and you enter through what seems to be a small door. I guess it's probably a regular door but seems small for the rectangular space that makes up the cafe. There's a vintage looking computer in the front corner which you might be able to use for internet. There is also wifi. The decor is scruffy. Not sure if they were aiming for that but they might have been. It is a cooperative and has a punk/ anarchist/ Marxist vibe. There were quite a few people sitting about talking, hardly anyone was eating.
There was no soap in the toilet. I'm assuming they had soap in the kitchen...

It's organic food with mainly burgers and a few other things like nachos and sausage and chips. There are children's sized portions too. Desserts include cheesecake which I've been told is very good. Unfortunately there wasn't any when I went. After using my antibacterial hand sanitizer I had a punk burger which was a burger with bacon, cheese, salad and mayo. The bun had herbs in it and the burger patty was a soy one. I think they make them on site. It was decent. I had a peanut banana smoothie which was pretty good. This is more of a healthy version of fast food as opposed to substitute McDonalds like Next Generation and Red Veg.

Service was helpful and prompt but he didn't do anything about the lack of soap in the toilet.

Value is very good at just over a fiver for the above.

I'm not sick yet so I'm guessing they had soap in the kitchen but no soap in the toilet - has to be a three for that.

Pros: Vegan, organic, fitting decor for their ethos
Cons: no soap in the toilet
veganaurora
veganaurora
  • vegan
Contributions
+66

Great cake, grumpy staff member

3 Posted on 06 / 29 / 2009

Pogo is one of the best places in London for cake. Their mango cake for example is usually moist and delicious. They also do a great vegan milkshakes and a super knickerbocker glory - ice-cream heaven. Apart from the food, the cafe also promotes organic veg initiatives and the work of local artists amongst other things.
The atmosphere is usually laid-back and unpretentious, and the staff are usually friendly and helpful except for one evening when my friend and I went a couple of weeks ago when one of the staff members was a bit grumpy and unhelpful. Hopefully that was just an off-day for him as it would be a shame to put people off going to a place that has good intentions and great vegan cake.

Pros: great cake, good value
Cons: grumpy staff member
quarrygirl
quarrygirl
  • vegan
Contributions
+2397

amazing vegan food, casual atmosphere

5 Posted on 06 / 13 / 2009

of all the places i've dined in london, pogo cafe is definitely one of my favorites. the small co-operative acts as a hub for activism, a book trader, and one of the city's few 100% vegan restaurants. there are a couple dining tables in the place as well as comfy couches, computer stations, and coffee tables covered with anti-government literature. all this stuff is really rad, but the best thing about pogo cafe is of course the delicious food. i'm talking really good, cheap vegan fare served in huge portions.

when we went to pogo, my husband ordered a punk burger, which was hearty and tasty beyond belief. the thick vegan patty came topped with cheezly, mayo, vegetables, and a meatless "rasher," or bacon as they call it here in america. he upgraded his burger to the meal option, which means they served it with a huge pile of spicy potato wedges and side of leafy greens. clocking in at under £6, this thing was a deal and an awful lot of food.

i ordered the nacho plate, which was an impressive mound of chips topped with fresh salsa, guacamole, vegan sour cream and melted cheezly. i was so excited when my plate arrived and it was covered in cheezly, one of my favorite vegan cheeses that is almost impossible to come by in the states. it had an amazing rich cheese flavor, and it actually melted. i seriously think this is the best plate of nachos i've ever had in my life, and it was only £3.90! how is it that a couple of DIY kids in a tiny kitchen can make me a lunch this amazing, but fully staffed restaurants in fancy facilities can't turn out something half this good?

when in london, definitely hit up pogo. it's totally out of the way and will take a while to get there, but it's very VERY worth it.

Pros: all vegan, casual vibe, great food
Cons: staff can be rude, far away
Marsglobe
Marsglobe
  • vegan
Contributions
+36

Pogo Cheesecake Rules Da Skool!

4 Posted on 06 / 14 / 2008

A friend and I went for a meal at Pogo, and found ourselves in the middle of an evening dedicated to Palestine including a really enlightening illustrated lecture by someone living there. This is the strength of Pogo - it creates links and cross currents which perhaps you might not normally make while chowing down your food.

Pogo situates itself in the anarchist counter-cultural milieu: it's in Hackney, it's punky but it's welcoming to nerds like me. The staff were smiley and friendly and prepared our food in record time. The restuarant itself is an assemblage of scavenged furniture and restored nick nacks which feels rather lovely and would probably be described as post apocalyptic shabby chic. All of this is underpinned by a varied selection of music (and occassional live shows I believe).

As for the food itself, well, we came in at the end of the evening, so the main meal which was a nut roast was a little dried out, nothing that a little gravy couldn't cure though. AND the cheesecake more than made up for the disappointing started. This is easily the best vegan cheesecake I've ever had (and believe me I've had a few!) and even now some months later - the thought of that cheesecake is what will draw me back to Pogo when I'm next in London.

So, if you want solid food, great cheesecake, to support people who are doing their best to create a different world and the chance to rub shoulders with activists from around the globe, make your way to the little cafe with the big, big heart!

That's before I even mention the Secret Society of Vegans who may (or may not) have their HQ somewhere in the bowels of the building...

Pros: good atmosphere, heavenly cheesecake, friendly staff
Cons: can get a bit crowded
anto
anto
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+41

great spot!

5 Posted on 04 / 29 / 2008

I visited the Pogo over the weekend on a visit to London its a great spot. Lovely food, nutritious tasty, good portions and great value. Really nice atmosphere and friendly people -respect to all the volunteers! free internet access too and great cup of tea! Cool exhibition on the walls of UK zine artists which was great also! Id defo recommend this place. Its very close to the Hackney Central station once you've got your A-Z Guide you cant miss it! If you've got a bike its a handy cycle also! Do it!!

Pros: Great Value, Nutritious, Atmosphere
Cons: Closed Mon, Tues
greengirl
greengirl
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+16

Thank you, peeps at Pogo!

4 Posted on 01 / 26 / 2008

I went there w/my gf in May whilst we were visiting London from NYC. The location is dodgy and not what you'd call queer friendly, but the place is accessible by bus, which is a plus for travelers. We got there after they'd closed the kitchen, but we were able to convince the girl behind the counter to let us order some grain coffee and a vegan lemon cheesecake that was TOPS!

I also liked the art exhibit that was up, all about Banksy and other graffiti artists. I'm not exactly an activist either, but this is definitely the place to be after or during the revolution -- or to help plan it! Thanks to the volunteer peeps at Pogo for keeping us from starving on a brisk, rainy night...you rock..

Pros: cheesecake, film screenings, local art, collectivist atmosphere
Cons: location, weird hours, a bit clique-ish
manicpianic
manicpianic
  • vegan
Contributions
+20

Highly recommended - fantastic place.

5 Posted on 11 / 23 / 2007

I visited this totally vegan mostly organic cafe with my husband yesterday lunchtime. We were so glad that we went. The food is so tasty, lots of it and so cheap. I had the 'Punk' burger which came with thick potato wedges, a leafy green and tofu salad and a carrot, apple and lemon salad. Hubbie had the mixed bean lasagne which came with a mixed salad. For dessert we had the very naughty knickerbocker glories which contained 4 different soya icecreams/sorbets - kids would absolutely love this (I did!). There is plenty of choice on the menu (including the extensive drinks list) which is fantastic bearing in mind how little choice vegans usually get. The vibe of the place is great, very relaxed and laid back with plenty of tables. There are also sofas to chill out on if you want to browse through one of the 2nd hand books left for a book exchange or you could check your emails and surf the internet on one of the 2 computers. All the staff are unpaid volunteers who are trying to do their bit to support veganism and help promote a cruelty-free lifestyle. They were very friendly and helpful. Don't be put off by the cafe's location (Hackney) - in fact there's a lovely square and park just round the corner, and it's not far from the tube station. You won't want to miss this place. It is a real find and I would recommend it highly. You can visit their website which contains their menu among other things at www.pogocafe.co.uk

Pros: Wide choice, Delicious and filling, Cheap
MrFalafel
MrFalafel
  • vegan
Contributions
+127

Not really a date restaurant

4 Posted on 05 / 15 / 2007

The bus dropped me off in central Hackney and my A-Z led me down a side street past a few kebab shops and liquor shops across from a slightly dodgy housing estate to the Pogo Cafe. The decor is more student union than restaurant but its very relaxed and welcoming, even for someone dressed in a business suit (which I was). There was only one other customer and the volunteer/staff were lounging around or doing odd jobs around the place in a very relaxed pace. Great music and interesting political art on the walls. The menu was simple enough so I ordered garlic bread and their signature puNk burger. The handed me a corkscrew for me to open my bottle of wine (which I brought) and even gave me a proper glass! My garlic bread was served and turned out to be extremely lovely hearty whole grain fresh bread toasted with a very fresh and garlicky spread on it. Very nice. The puNk burger was served by a dreadlocked chef who treated me like a colleague by engaging me in the conversation that was floating around the room mainly by the staff members. The burger was one of the top veggie burger available in London. Vegan cheese, and a vegetarian rasher on top of a lovely homemade tofu-based burger patty served in a fresh bun and baked chips and a bit of salad on the side. Top marks for the food and even better marks for the great prices. Verdict: great place to eat after a protet march or with your anarchist buddies.

Pros: great prices, great food, quriky
Cons: not central, not best location

 

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Last updated: 2013/09/01

 

Added: 2007/08/01

 

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