Konjo Cafe & Restaurant

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Konjo Cafe & Restaurant, 89 Irving St, Footscray. Phone: 9689 8185

It’s a passing mention of Konjo Cafe at Footscray Food Blog that has seemingly and subconsciously steered me to Irving St, despite having pleasantly meandered along many streets and alleyways since parking at the market a half an hour before.

I’m very happy to find it open for business at lunchtime on a Monday, despite the upheaval presented by the heavy-duty roadworks currently underway right outside.

I’d popped in once a few months previously, so am used to the idea a limited menu may be available – the handful of dishes jotted down on a small blackboard doesn’t phase me.

From that list I choose lamb kai wot, which is described as “spicy lamb stew simmered in berbere”.

I soon discover the blackboard choices are mere suggestions and that the full menu – see below – is available.

The menu seems to have all the usual Ethiopian bases covered, with all but one dish selling for $12 – at the end of 2012, that seems like really good value.

No matter, I’m happy with my choice – especially once my request for a little salad on the side is granted.

That turns out to be the zingy jumble of cos lettuce, tomato and green chilli slices I was hoping for.

The kai wot is only mildly spicy but the gravy is rich, quite oily/buttery and delicious; the lamb is in small pieces and plentiful.

A single piece of injera suffices, and I even leave a little of the kai wot – it’s a serve that should really be shared between two diners in tandem with a vegetable dish or salad proper.

My cool lunch matches the cool cafe vibe here – the furniture is dark wood, the tables long-legged to match the stools. There is seating of a more traditional-style in a rear room.

The service is warm and obliging. The volume of the sweet African music is just right, too.

I’m told the roadworks are as much a pain because of the dust and noise as they are for deterring customers.

Still, no doubt just like the other restaurants and businesses on this stretch of Irving St, they’ll be very happy when the work is completed.

Flat-screen TVs: No.

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