NEW POKE BOWL BAR OPENS IN GENEVA
by Vivian Holding
If you haven’t yet heard about poke bowls, where have you been? The biggest recent health food trend in Geneva just got another boost with the introduction of elua in Eaux-Vives – the city’s first take-away/restaurant focused exclusively on the poke bowl.
GENEVA’S FIRST POKE BOWL BAR
It wasn’t going to take long for someone to come up with the idea of a dedicated poke bowl restaurant, the city has finally woken up to the idea of ditching the traditional heavy lunchtime meal in favour of lighter, fresher and healthier options.
WHAT IS POKE?
Poke (pronounced po-kay) is the unofficial food of Hawaii – a marinated raw ahi tuna dish. The word poke means to section or to slice or cut. From the origins of this dish, the poke bowl has grown and has transformed the health food industry worldwide. Poke bowls are made with premium grade raw fish (similar to that used for sashimi or sushi), a selection of raw vegetables and sometimes fruit with a sauce and other toppings. Gluten free options include spiralled courgettes or kale as a base in place of rice.
WHO IS BEHIND ELUA?
Friends since 2011, Charlotte and Chiara, met whilst working in the watchmaking industry. The idea of setting up in business together came whilst they were both on maternity leave. Chiara had experienced the poke phenomenon in California a year ago whilst holidaying there. The two girls have always loved eating healthily and realising that Geneva was lacking on this front decided they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to start their own poke bowl restaurant. Their dream finally came to fruition on the 12th March 2018.
WHAT’S ON OFFER AT ELUA?
elua offer five signature poké bowls, ranging from 19-23CHF each:
- WAILEA sea bream, white rice, avocado, citrus, pickled carrots, masago, kumquat, spring onions, coriander with a honey/sesame/citrus sauce.
- KAILUA albacore tuna, brown rice, edamame beans, mango, gari ginger, black radish, gomasio with a teriyaki sauce.
- KOPOHAKU octopus, white rice, kimchi, pickled red onions, raw onions, spring onions, coriander with a sriracha sauce.
- PO’IPU tofu, courgette noodles, edamame, sunomono cucumber, green apple, furikake, pickled red onions and a salsa verde.
- LANIKAI salmon, white rice, avocado, fennel, pickled daikon, radishes, spring onions, sesame seeds with a yuzu ponzu sauce.
Or if you prefer to create your own poke bowl the options are endless, using any of the ingredients listed.
TOP TIP: if you are new to poke, opt for one of their signature bowls, as the choice of ingredients can be a little mind blowing for the first time.
Charlotte and Chiara came up with the concept, experience and name elua (the word means two in Hawaiian), used design agency Cent Degrees to create the branding and the restaurant’s interior design, MAJ Digital to design their website and enlisted the help of Benjamin Breton (chef of their Eaux-Vives neighbour Bottle Brothers) to come up with ideas for their signature dishes.
SUSTAINABLE AND ECO-FRIENDLY
elua’s priority is to serve the freshest and highest quality ingredients, using the most sustainable raw fish they can source. Other ingredients are sourced locally where possible and all their packaging is recyclable or bio-degradable.
A STEEP LEARNING CURVE
Opening day on Monday 12th March 2018 was a nervous affair for the young partners. They were literally swamped with customers and sold out within 1½ hours.
WHO ARE ELUA’S CUSTOMERS?
Charlotte and Chiara were amazed to see so many very young faces on opening day (teenagers and twenty-somethings). They would say though on average their customers are aged closer to 25-40ish.
WHAT IS THEIR BEST SELLING POKE BOWL SO FAR?
Each day is different and for the moment they can’t be certain which is their best seller. Certainly it’s a three way tie between the WAILEA (sea bream), the LANIKAI (salmon) and KAILUA (tuna).
I tried the WAILEA and loved the fresh and zingy mix of sea bream, rice, avocado and orange/grapefruit/kumquat with a honey, sesame and citrus sauce.
WHAT ELSE IS ON OFFER AT ELUA?
A range of home-made cakes – chocolate brownies with macadamia and hazelnuts, a matcha and black sesame cake and a yuzu and lemon cake (I tried the latter which was perfect after my citrussy poke bowl). They also offer a refreshing mix of drinks – from a fresh citronnade, a hibiscus rooibos or a jasmin and lemongrass ice tea.
elua’s opening hours are limited to lunchtimes only (11.30am-2.30pm Monday-Friday) for the moment. Their location in Eaux-Vives is perfect for the take-away lunchtime crowd and when the weather improves ideal for an alfresco lunch lakeside (or like we did, picnicking on a bench in nearby Parc des Eaux-Vives). elua do offer eight high stools to enjoy your poke, but you can’t reserve a place – so get there early!
Office deliveries and extended opening hours are all options for the future.
WHERE: elua, 8 rue des Eaux-Vives, 1207 Genève.
OPENING HOURS: 11.30am-2.30pm Monday to Friday.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Click here for their website. Click here for their Facebook page.