Tea and scones, anyone? Head to Sendai
I love visiting independent cafes in Sendai. There are so many to choose from, all with delicious food at reasonable prices. A more recent addition to this selection is Polly Put the Kettle On, which not only has a great name, it also has great food.
Polly's, as it's known for short, looks like it's a bit off the beaten track, but is actually only 10 minutes' walk from Kitayobancho subway station. It was started in 2014 as a British cafe – the owner has lived in the UK, so he knows his stuff. And you can order in English, from the bilingual menu. Unusually, the regular closing day is Saturday, but this does mean that you can come on a Sunday, when many other cafes are closed.
It's perhaps a bit more “patriotic” than the average cafe you would find in the UK, with the many flags everywhere, but there are other nice touches amongst the decorations. I also enjoyed the fact that Classic FM was playing on the radio in the background.
My favourite part, though, has to be the food. My first order here was a salty beef bagel and an apple cider. The choice of name is a little misleading – the apple cider is not what anyone on either side of the Atlantic would expect, but a warm, flat, non-alcoholic apple drink with cinnamon. The name aside, it is delicious. A true comfort drink best enjoyed during inclement weather, which makes it perfectly suited to a British-themed menu, at least in my opinion.
The salty beef bagel consisted of a soft bun filled with tender meat and mustard-mayonnaise, with a delicious (yet small) side salad. There was definitely a Japanese air to the presentation and amount of food, but the meaty sandwich filling definitely felt like home. The same can be said of the cheese and ham sandwiches, which I had on an another visit. The white bread even stuck to the roof of my mouth like I remembered!
You can also look forward to a generous selection of desserts. Apart from the perennial scones, the counter is filled with appetising baked goods. At Easter, I enjoyed an exciting variation on an Easter nest. It was a little like a cupcake with a healthy dose of coconut, decorated with the traditional sugar-shelled chocolate eggs on top.
Polly's is the best British cafe that I've been to in Japan. It balances authenticity with affordability, allowing you to buy sandwiches and a drink for under ¥1000. The small servings are more suited to a light lunch or a snack, but it's more than enough to give you a taste of the UK.