Only the French are this good at transforming the ready-made into an art form.
Three courses, designed by three-star chefs, for only €15. In a city where a plain jambon-beurre baguette and a can of fizzy drink will set you back at least €8, this is amazing.
Boco is a play on bocaux, jars or goldfish bowls. Each starter, main course and dessert comes in a sleek glass jar that can be sealed for takeaway or heated instantly to eat in. Of the chefs (whose faces can be found on stickers on the jars they designed) I only know the patissiers. Michalak and Conticini are big-hitters: the former is a world champion, the latter owns of my favourite corners of Paris, La Patisserie des Reves. His rice puddingdid not disappoint: real vanilla, whipped cream and a marmalade caramel elevated the humble pudding above its usual bistrot status.
All of the jars, sweet and savoury, have clearly been created for a visual effect: tomato and fennel “tiramisu” shows off its colourful layers, marinated tuna sits on a pale green courgette flan. The desserts too play with the presentation: strata of pear compote, maple mousse and maple jelly look elegant and taste subtly sweet.
I was thoroughly impressed by the perfect poached eggs with star-anise spiked lentils – the yolk stayed runny even after a blast from my microwave.
Everything is bio, or organic, and freshly prepared. If the jar size portions leave you a little hungry, grab some of the giant sourdough loaf sliced on the counter or an extra three-star chocolate chip cookie.
At lunchtime, the menu du jour is only $15. Even better, if you take away, they let you keep the glass jars to smarten up your fridge. But you will certainly want to come back for another visit; Boco is the best of France and the best kind of fast food.
Boco – 3, rue Danielle Casanova, 1er – metro Pyramides (open for lunch and dinner, closed Sunday)
or 45, Cour Saint-Émilion, 12e – metro Bercy (open everyday for lunch and dinner)