I have a tendency to be judgemental. I admit it.
So when I passed a new cafe called Bodega50 on Allen Road in my neighbourhood, Stoke Newington, a couple of years ago, I peered in and quickly dismissed it. Stoke Newington gets a lot of new cafes and they’re usually too small, full of N16 parents and absurdly expensive. I didn’t spend long assessing this new cafe, I glanced at it and thought “it’s probably like all the others” and thought nothing of it for the last couple of years.
Cut to a couple of weeks ago and I bumped into a friend who lives near Allen Road on the bus. We talk about my blog, and she casually asks if I go to Bodega 50 much, with it being the closest vegan cafe. She’s then shocked when I tell her that I’ve never been in and I didn’t know it was vegan. She doesn’t know if it’s definitely always been vegan, but she thinks it has.
So we went – and it’s unbelievable. Good value vegan food (well, 99% vegan – the croissants aren’t) including lots of lunch options and 8 different vegan cakes plus an array of vegan cupcakes.
They don’t advertise themselves as being vegan, they just (mostly) are. They don’t advertise themselves as anything in fact – I’ve never heard anyone in my area talk about them, whether positively or negatively. There’s only a tiny trace of them online including this review which, unsurprisingly, says not to tell anyone else about it. I had a superb tofu and mustard toastie, my companion had humous and gherkins – why are they not shouting to the vegans through a megaphone about themselves? They have gherkins with hummous. That’s amazing!
Good thing they’re a secret, mind, from the perspective that you get to spend more time with Bruce, the cafe dog, who seems to be its real owner, judging by the way he prances about the place demanding attention, and commandeers his chair. Bruce is a beautiful dog, you’ll want to spend a lot of time with Bruce
I suppose if you’re a dog, it’s hard to market your cafe. Nevertheless, this is a top-class vegan cafe which no-one seems to know about and it’s a 10 minute walk from my house. Maybe there’s one 10 minutes from you too and you just don’t know? It’s a scary but very exciting thought.