Blending French brasserie chic with a classic Japanese menu, this address is a winning addition to the Canal de l’Ourcq.
The Bassin de la Villette area, where the Canal de l’Ourcq begins, has become a real draw for enterprising restaurateurs over the past couple of years. Joining the prosperous likes of monolithic beer bar the Paname Brewing Company, the classy Bancs Publics bistro and, most recently, Mediterranean-themed aperitif hangout the Café Odilon, the latest to open its doors is Koko, an eye-catching Japanese canteen located at the foot of the canal since summer 2016. There’s certainly no faulting its style: with its strangely alluring kitsch yellow frontage, roughened exposed brick walls, Japanese pencil drawings and large, agreeable terrace, the bar both has its own distinct appeal and seamlessly blends in with the buzzing, graffitied surrounding area.
À la carte, there are otsunamis (assorted tapas-like starters, served hot and cold, €3-€10), sushi plates (€8-€15), sashimi, bo buns and various more sizeable main dishes. To keep you going, we heartily recommend choosing the plate that mixes well cooked traditional sashimi with some excellently soft, refreshing king prawn sushi. The vegetarian salad, comprising various seaweeds, avocado, fried tofu and a sesame sauce (€13), meanwhile, will satisfy those who prefer seeing fish in the sea rather than on a plate. For carnivores, the pleasantly surprising déclinaison de boeuf, beef prepared in four different ways, accompanied by avocado, asparagus and peppers, also slips down very nicely with an ice-cold Japanese Coedo Shikkoku beer. If you can get past the colour, the Green Lava Cake (a matcha green tea-flavoured fondant) is a superb way to round off.
TRANSLATION: HUW OLIVER
14 quai de la Loire
|Opening hours:||Tues-Sun 11.30am-11.30pm|
|Transport:||Metro: Jaurès ou Stalingrad|