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Long Street’s Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant – reviewed

Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant is a colourful African-themed restaurant offering a communal style of eating Ethiopian food in the heart of bustling Long Street. On arrival you’re invited to sit around a traditional woven table. There are no utensils in sight, so be prepared to get stuck in and eat with your hands.

Fast facts

Cost: R110 average main meal
Parking: Street parking only
Best for: A wonderful Ethiopian dining experience
Star ratings: Food 3; Ambience 5; Service 4

The colourful coffee ceremony. Photo by Zola Nene.

Food

The menu offers a description of the types of dishes on offer. Choose a platter then add to it as per your preference. A platter will serve two people generously; however, you can build your own by ordering individual dishes to make up your meal.

A selection of stews served with injera. Photo by Zola Nene.

For vegetarians, a selection of flavourful pulses prepared with spices and herbs as well as mushrooms and other vegetable dishes are available. The braised lentils are moreishly savoury. For meat lovers, the tibs (cubes of dry fried meat coated in spices) is a must. You can choose between chicken, lamb or beef, though the lamb can be a little salty. Accompany your selection with traditional injera (a traditional Ethiopian bread/pancake), made from teff and other grain varieties. All the food at Lucy Ethiopian is gluten-free.

The food arrives in bowls along with a plate covered with injera. The dishes are then tipped onto the injera plate. Everyone eats from the communal plate, using the injera to scoop up all the stews and vegetables.

Finish with coffee and popcorn. Photo by Zola Nene.

The dessert choice is very limited. Choose from don pedros, sorbet, ice cream and baklava.

Drinks

Lucy Ethiopian does not have a liquor license, though there are plans to open a bar extension downstairs in a few months. For now, there are commercial soft drinks and cordials on offer, as well as mint tea and rooibos. Ethiopian coffee is served in a traditional pot that comes with smoldering herbs to perfume the air and a side of salted popcorn. The ground single origin Ethiopian coffee is also available for purchase to take home.

You and your guests will be seated around a woven grass table to share your meal. Photo by Zola Nene.

Ambience

The space is bright and colourful, with traditional Ethiopian motifs and decorations giving the restaurant distinct character. Traditional music sets the mood during your dining experience as you sit in animal hide chairs around a traditional table. A lovely fresh breeze flows in from the open windows, making the space feel fresh and airy.

Service

Service is slow at times; however, the staff is very well versed on the menu and style of food. Everyone is happy to make recommendations on what and how to order from the menu depending on the number of diners at your table. Because the meal is eaten using your hands, the waiters wash your hands using warm water from a large traditional teapot before the meal commences. If you need a quick lesson on how to eat with your hands, the staff is happy to give you a quick tutorial. After the meal, warm wet towels are offered for freshening up.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.

Have you been to Lucy Ethiopian? Write a review now and put them in the running for the Best African category at the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries. 

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