[Editor's note: Elu closed permanently in March 2019.]
Sendai is a city of cafes. So many nice places to have a cup of tea or coffee, a small snack or a piece of cake. And after 17:00, Sendai becomes a city of bars and izakaya - Japanese-style bars. What is hard to find in Sendai, is a place where you can have a drink before 17:00. Say, your friend comes to visit you, but she has to catch her train, or a plane, or she has to be at home before her kids return from school or kindergarten. You want to celebrate your reunion with a good glass of wine, but… where?
This is exactly where our today’s hero appears. The hero is called elu, and is located on the other side of Mitsukoshi.
Actually, elu is the youngest child in a family of very popular small bars - Elmaru, Elseco, Elciro and now elu as well. The bars manage to operate without a signboard, supporting a friendly atmosphere and aiming at repeat guests.
What makes elu so different? Everything. First of all, it is a place where you can go to have a drink even when the other bars are closed yet. It is a place where you can wait and relax before a party, having a glass of wine and a snack. The interior, stone walls and dried flowers and mashiko-yaki pottery reminds of European old towns with hidden bars and cafes located right in the chambers of Medieval stone houses, something you cannot imagine in Japan.
And yes - snacks. The menu is one of the most important things that are so great about elu.
You won’t see a fork or a knife in here - everything can be eaten using only your hands. Denmark’s traditional Smørrebrød, a type of open sandwich with rye bread, delicious tartelettes, and… the lunch menu! elu offers one of the most unusual lunch menus in Sendai (at least judging from my own experience). First I thought “Alright, it’s sandwiches, and what can be so special about sandwiches?”, and I was so wrong. Have you ever tasted a sandwich with sauerkraut, or mashed potatoes and roasted pork? It’s delicious! And it goes together with hot soup, as well as marinated vegetables or olives. And you can have a glass of their famous fresh sangria, for the absolute satisfaction.
What else is great about elu? You can invite them to your place. If you have a big and important party, or maybe a wedding ceremony (the most special of all the special days, that you expect to be perfect), they can take over the menu. elu team don’t need a kitchen - they will bring everything with them. And you will have a menu that will definitely be remembered and praised.
Don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese - they have an English-speaking staff as well.