Dinknesh (Lucy) Restaurant and Bar

227 Barkly St
Footscray, VIC 3011
I don’t give the Western suburbs enough credit. When I think west, I think Footscray. When I think Footscray, I think Vietnamese. And why on earth should I go out that far for Vietnamese when I’m a 20 minute straight-line drive from Springvale? What I’m always forgetting is that, aside from an abundance of Asian food, Footscray also specialises in a colourful cuisine rarely seen elsewhere in Melbourne (and definitely not in Springvale) – African cuisine.
Dinknesh (Lucy) Restaurant and Bar is a little bit away from the central hub of Footscray. It’s very bare bones, the space simply furnished and sparely decorated, though the air carries a strong smell of spices. We were the only customers on a dreary Monday evening.
All meals came with the African staple dish of Injera. Large as plates, even larger than platters, the rounds of fermented bread were rolled up like soft, warm towels, ready to soak up any sauce that comes its way. The intensity of the injera always surprises me. It carries a sharp, fermented tanginess that belies its mellow appearance. I find it too strong to eat on its own, but it’s absolutely perfect when dipped into rich sauces.
Lucy Meat Combination ($17)
We ordered the Lucy Meat Combination ($17), a platter of stewed meats and vegetables. We ate with our hands, revelling in the way the sauces soaked into the injera. The bozena shiro – chickpeas and beef stewed in clarified butter – was mild and aromatic, the addition of tomato and onion bringing to mind hearty Italian ragus. The ybeg wot (spicy beef stew) however was sharp and pungent with spices, a real contrast to the mild creaminess of the ybeg alicha (braised lamb).
Lucy Meat Combination ($17)
On the side were vegetable dishes; potatoes and carrots in turmeric, cooked cabbage, and – my favourite – potatoes sweetly braised in beetroot. 
Lucy Vegetable Combination ($15)
As opposed to trying to choose one other dish, we had the Lucy Vegetable Combination ($15). Instead of meats, this platter was a variety of richly spiced mashed pulses and grains, and a pinch of wilted silver beet. It is every bit as filling as its carnivorous counterpart and a joy to eat, bringing to mind an unfamiliar variation of pita and hommus.
I thought Dinknesh was enjoyable, but I thought it could’ve been a lot better given different circumstances. I imagine it would’ve been a better experience overall had we visited on a busier evening. Plus, then we may have gotten food that was freshly cooked, instead of re-heated in the microwave as so many other people complained of – the uneven heating of the different dishes were telltale. I like the spirit of Dinknesh, but I don’t know about coming out this far, especially not with Little Africa so much closer by.
Rating: 12/20 – if you’re in the area.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

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  • Reply Zoe 11/12/2014 at 1:16 am

    Hi Ming,

    I have not very familiar with African food and love to explore this cuisine further.

    Nice to know you via blogging. I’m from Melbourne too! I love baking and cooking and giving away prizes before the end of 2014. Interested to join? http://www.bakeforhappykids.com/2014/12/a-diy-cake-kit-from-mummas-cakes-and.html

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  • Reply Charlie Delta 13/12/2014 at 5:41 pm

    I do like African, we tried it once, but it is awfully far away as we live near you and not the other side of the city. :P

    • Reply ming 14/12/2014 at 8:26 am

      Little Africa is a good alternative! It’s just near Vic Market, and it’s my favourite african restaurant to date :)

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