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Lunch in Paris: Koko

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OK, OK, so?

Our food correspondant was lured to that place by Time Out Paris raving about it. Let it be known that Time Out reviews have to be taken with a pinch of salt, one severely missing from the place’s seasoning. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Situated near the Ourq canal, in an area where Paris displays its ongoing conflict between gentrification and humanitarian needs – the day we had lunch there a Syrian migrant camp was moved to better (we hope), less precarious location – Koko is nothing to write home about. No way that said migrants can afford it anyway.

Advertising itself like a Parisian izakaya, Koko is as Japanese as the spring rolls or the bimbimbap it has on its menu. Its “no frills” approach results in tables packed too close to each other and a bland decor, which has the merit to match the bland, unsmiling service to perfection. It’s a cafeteria, and not a great one. So, food.

Koko is best enjoyed for a drink with a couple of tapas if weather is on your side. The iced matcha is very good and the draft Kirin affordable. Two tapas were sampled: Sweet potato fries and marinated beef. The fries were OK, too bad they came back as Victoire’s main dish garniture. Beef was completely bland as if marinated in lukewarm tap water.

Main dishes were a rather nice beef tartare including – good idea – pine nuts, but severely lacking seasoning, and a tendon which tempura was adequate, but laid on a bed of rice one can enjoy in a canteen when the nice lady cooking has a bad hair day. A pinch of vinegar was sorely missed. There was some sort of dessert which left no recollection.

If you find yourself lost near the Jaurès métro, ot if you’re brave enough to wander there by yourself, Koko might be an option on a sunny day. Best thing about it is in one’s opinion is the walk along the canal you will take after a couple of tapas, in the direction of the Pavillon des Canaux where you can have coffee. With a 70€ check for two, it’s best avoided otherwise.

Food correspondent: Victoire V.

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