Pogo Cafe, hackney :(

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Pogo Cafe, hackney :(

Postby Man On Bike. » Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:27 am

Pogo on Myspace

Pogo pics on flickr

I was so disappointed with this place!

I really don't think it's worth going out of your way to visit the place unless you're already visiting or passing through hackney.

Don't get me wrong - if I lived in or near hackney I'd be at pogo cafe every day. I'd even volunteer to work there on weekends.

It is in a really dodgy area so if you do go, make sure you go with a friend, and make sure you go there (and leave) while it's light!

I could find nothing but excellent reviews on the internet. Not one negative word was said about the place. So I was expecting a really vibrant, colourful place with lots of punk music and awesome art on the walls, excellent food that was good value for money. But I was really disappointed, let down by the food, and the place didn't look anything like the photos I saw on flickr. The art shown in the photos has been replaced too.

The place is quite small and really shabby. The food was nice but nothing better than I could have cooked at home when feeling quite lazy and using some of last night's leftovers.

It was also quite small considering it cost 6 quid - a breakfast which consisted of scrambled tofu, one slice of toast (not even properly toasted), some chili beans, some potato cubes, and a choice of either flat sausages (?) OR a seedy tofu burger - not both. No cup of tea?! Only one slice of toast?! shocking. If I ate meat or eggs I could get an awesome breakfast WITH TEA/COFFEE from the Wetherspoons down the road for 2-3 quid and I wouldn't still be hungry afterwards.

They ran out of food after we ordered, so the next couple to come in after us were really disappointed too.

On the positive side, the people there are nice, there's free internet, a library (you just replace any book you take out with a book of your own. Not sure if you have to bring it back), and toys for the kids to play with. It's a worker's co-op staffed by volunteers.

As you've probably gathered, I wouldn't go there again, I doubt I'd even go there if I was already visiting hackney.
Last edited by Man On Bike. on Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby JP » Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:30 am

hehe, you have your fair share of disappointments with different restaurants :D

You are contradicting yourself there, you first say that you would go there all the time if you were in hackney and now you wont go back even if you were in hackney?

Also, especially if there are a lot of volunteers, judging from the experience at the basement in manchester, the quality of food varies a lot depending on who is in. So maybe you just caught a bad day?

I have not been at pogo cafe, but know some folk there, and would hate to see them receiving a bad rep based on one off bad experience. Any other reviews?
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Postby Man On Bike. » Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:39 am

[quote="JP"]
You are contradicting yourself there, you first say that you would go there all the time if you were in hackney and now you wont go back even if you were in hackney?
I mean if I LIVED in Hackney I'd go there all the time, but not if I was just visiting.


[quote="JP"]
Also, especially if there are a lot of volunteers, judging from the experience at the basement in manchester, the quality of food varies a lot depending on who is in. So maybe you just caught a bad day?


Could be - someone else suggested that too.

hey - there's loads of positive reviews elsewhere on the net - this is probably the only negative one!
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Postby fredrikw » Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:47 am

[quote="Man On Bike."]I mean if I LIVED in Hackney I'd go there all the time, but not if I was just visiting.

if it is that bad, why would you go there all the time if you lived there, with easy access to a kitchen, but not if you were visiting? I don't get it.

also, I don't see the point in slagging off restaurants like you do after just visiting them once. is your goal to make people not go there, and making the selection of veggie restaurants smaller? if you're sincere about your critique and want them to change you should tell the restaurants directly and not post like you do here.
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Postby Man On Bike. » Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:54 am

[quote="fredrikw"][quote="Man On Bike."]I mean if I LIVED in Hackney I'd go there all the time, but not if I was just visiting.

if it is that bad, why would you go there all the time if you lived there, with easy access to a kitchen, but not if you were visiting? I don't get it.
Because it isnt a bad place to hang out, and because it would be the only local place to go for decent vegan food. I think it would be worth going there if it didn't take much money or effort to get there.

We came from further afield to visit the place, this took us over an hour each way and cost us over £7 each in tube/bus fares. I don't think it was worth it. Now do you understand?

[quote]also, I don't see the point in slagging off restaurants like you do after just visiting them once. is your goal to make people not go there, and making the selection of veggie restaurants smaller? if you're sincere about your critique and want them to change you should tell the restaurants directly and not post like you do here.
Erm, I'm not slagging the place off at all, I'm just telling the truth about what I thought of it. Is that not allowed? Should people only post positive reviews on the internet?

Most review sites only publish positive reviews. It's because of those reviews that I had such high expectations of the place, which is why I went out of my way to visit pogo, and why I ended up disappointed.

If the reviews weren't so biased then maybe I wouldn't have had such high expectations and therefore would not have been so disappointed. See?

I thought the idea of reviews was to let people know what to expect rather than kissing arse.
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Postby fredrikw » Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:59 am

[quote="Man On Bike."]Because it isnt that bad a place to hang out, and because it would be the only local place to go for decent vegan food. We came from further afield to visit the place, this took us over an hour each way and cost us over £7 each in tube/bus fares. Now do you understand?

no. if you're visiting Hackney, as you said in your original post, you're not paying extra money, you're already there.

[quote]Erm, I'm not slagging the place off at all, I'm just telling the truth about what I thought of it. Is that not allowed? Should people only post positive reviews on the internet? Most review sites only publish positive reviews. It's because of those reviews that I went out of my way to visit pogo, and ended up disappointed. If the reviews weren't so biased then maybe I wouldn't have had such high expectations and therefore would not have been so disappointed. See? It works both ways.

still, what's the point in posting it here? do you really want them to change, contact them directly. if you want to make less people go there and eventually close the place down, slag them off at places many vegans go and they probably won't see it. surely you must see the difference in these two approaches.
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Postby Tarz » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:07 am

MOB is gettin a hard rap here.

It seems to be OK to have a glut of positive reviews on the web, heaven forbid if anybody dares to offer their own, more critical opinion.

I also see MOB's point about visiting regular if he lived in the vicinity, but not again if travelling from outta town. Quite one thing to pop round the corner to visit with little or no effort required, something else if travelling from outside - or even within - London. Makes perfect sense. It would be worth visiting as a local, if not a local then give it a miss...

MOB is gettin criticised by people who don't really know London too well. London is a very big place and Hackney is not the easiest of areas to get to. It takes time and effort to visit Hackney, which is a seriously dodgy area as MOB describes. He makes very fair points - in his experience it is not worth the hassle of gettin too for the average food and shady location.

I appreciated your honesty MOB.
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Postby Man On Bike. » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:08 am

[quote="fredrikw"][quote="Man On Bike."]Because it isnt that bad a place to hang out, and because it would be the only local place to go for decent vegan food. We came from further afield to visit the place, this took us over an hour each way and cost us over £7 each in tube/bus fares. Now do you understand?

no. if you're visiting Hackney, as you said in your original post, you're not paying extra money, you're already there.


I said at the beginning of the OP:

"I really don't think it's worth going out of your way to visit the place unless you're already visiting or passing through hackney."

I went out of my way to visit the place. I did pay extra money.
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Postby JP » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:16 am

i think fredrik makes a good point though:

What is your intention with your negative review of a place on a vegan forum?

Is it to warn people from going to the place, and therefore maybe drive the place out of business?

or is it to help the place to change to better (in which case you would have contacted the place directly).

of course posting something like this on the net will have a negative impact on the place. That must be the intention - to warn others from not going to the place.

Which is why i asked if there would be some other kind of experiences about Pogo cafe to share - i know several people who have been there and were very happy about it. Which makes me think that MOB just had bad luck or something, and he really should contact Pogo about it if he wants to help the place. If the intention is to get the place closed down, please post your negative post to all vegan forums and sites ;)
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Postby fredrikw » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:16 am

the question still remains, what's the point in posting the review here? wouldn't it be more effective if giving this feedback to the Pogo Café so they would be able to fix these things, instead of encouraging people not to go there. in what way is a closed veggie restaurant better?
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Postby Tarz » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:35 am

Seems that only positive reviews are encouraged. Best bite your tongue if you’ve had a less than satisfactory experience. Just because a place is vegan does not make it immune from criticism.

Perhaps MOB posted here as to advise people to think twice before visiting – if he had read such a review in advance he might not have spent the time and money he did when visiting.

What’s the point? I thought the whole point was to share experiences – be it in training, diet whatever. People learn from other’s experiences. So it’s OK to post training tips or nutrition tips – seems that it’s not OK to mention you’ve not had the best of experiences at a café. Alright to share certain things, other things best keep to yourself old chap….

When he’s had a good experience – as in the pub at Harborne – he shares that too.

As for asking MOB to post his experiences on other vegan forums, that is unfair. He posted on here as he is an active member, very doubtful he is a member of or actively visits all the other vegan sites. I look forward to everyone who posts positive feedback of a restaurant/store/company/product also being asked to also post that on all the other vegan sites too.

I’ve never been Pogo Café so don’t know what it is like, but MOB should be free to express his opinion of it.
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Postby the crazyest vegan » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:38 am

i think its good to give critical write ups of places so that people know what to expect, this way if i visit the Pogo cafe i will be expecting the worst and the best. that way no unplesent surprises, i live near a vegan/vegetarian cafe which is rubbish, i would not recomend you go their beacuse it is a shi* hole, yet the local papers give it good write ups. sometimes the only way to actually experiance it yourself, MOB should not be blamed for sharing his view and experiances of the place, should he write a brilliant article praising the place to the sky?
i think not.
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Postby Man On Bike. » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:40 am

[quote="fredrikw"]the question still remains, what's the point in posting the review here? wouldn't it be more effective if giving this feedback to the Pogo Café so they would be able to fix these things, instead of encouraging people not to go there. in what way is a closed veggie restaurant better?
Who said I wanted the cafe to close? I didn't imply that at all.

As a matter of fact I would love to see pogo grow and progress.

And out of all the positive reviews out there, I really don't think that one negative one is going to make much difference. It certainly isn't going to cause the place to close down.

The beauty of internet forums is that anyone from the public can join in the discussion. If anyone else comes across this thread and wants to post their experiences whether positive or negative, they can do. If people from pogo read this thread they can join in and have their say if they want to.

That way it's balanced, it's fair, it's unbiased.

I could have posted this on my own private blog (which ranks high up in google for certain popular search terms) if I wanted to. No-one else would have a say IF I didn't want them to; I could censor or completely disallow comments IF I wanted to.

Now fredrick tell me which is worse, posting something on a public messsage board where anyone can join in and have their say, or posting it on a private website where no-one else can have their say?

Maybe you'd like China. Apparently censorship's quite popular there :D
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Postby JP » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:46 am

hey man, no need to get all dramatic here. No one has tried to cencor you, so no need to play the victim card.

It was just simply pointed out that if you want to help the place, you give them direct feedback, and if you want to hurt them, you make a public rant against it.

Wouldnt you agree with that?
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Postby Man On Bike. » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:52 am

Ok forget I mentioned censorship. Anyway - the answer to your question JP is 'no', because when I write about places I've visited, my intention is not to help or to hurt anyone, just to share what I experienced with other people.
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