This article was originally written for the Londonist

Last frequented by the Londonist back in 2007, our ongoing eco-eating mission gave us the perfect excuse to return to Pogo.  A small vegan cafe found in deepest Hackney, it’s run as a co-operative by volunteers, has a strong activist streak, a busy notice board and a library of flyers.  A chamber for voices calling for change, Pogo is also a rather nice place for a hearty, animal and planet friendly lunch on the cheap.

Found up a humble side street, it’s a simple space that was fairly quiet on the midweek lunchtime we chose to visit.  We lingered over our meal making and were around to see a large delivery from Growing Communities arrive.  Pogo is a pick-up point for people who order boxes of local veg from the Hackney food growing enterprise.

There’s a chalk board of daily specials – both lunches and cakes – as well as a fixed menu of meat and dairy free burgers and child-sized options.  Both burgers and salads come in small and large sizes, allowing the eco eater to try a few things and still economise.

We opted for a snack size Tex Mex tofu burger.  It was huge and served in a delicious homemade bread bun packed with avocado, salad and jalapenos, as well as a succulent and perfectly seasoned patty made from organic tofu and pumpkin seeds.  It was a full meal on a tiny plate and only £3.75.  We loved it!

We also had a large bowl of carrot and spinach salad and a red cabbage coleslaw – acid bright dishes that weren’t fancy but were fresh with clean, crisp flavours.  They came with slices of a quite strange, stodgy, sticky bread that was almost cake-like and clearly homemade.

More than just a lunch venue, Pogo runs a series of regular and one-off events including Monday film nights and Saturday morning yoga.  Perhaps not a destination lunch spot that’s worth travelling great distances for, it is somewhere to seek out if you’re a local or you find yourself in the area.

It’s definitely somewhere we’re keen to return to for an evening event – we noticed a poster for a just past BYO acoustic mash-up which sounded great.  And that tofu burger really was top notch.

Pogo Cafe, 76 Clarence Road, E5 8HB / / closed on Monday and Tuesdays


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