8bit

Posted on June 9, 2014

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I’ve been super lazy these days, hence the lack of cooking posts. Good thing a new burger joint has recently opened up nearby. 8bit (8 Droop Street, Footscray VIC) is one of Footscray’s newest installations and is the first burger place for the suburb. Hooray for more variety and the introduction of a new hip looking diner right in the heart of Footscray! And judging by the lines out the door on the last couple of Friday and Saturday nights, looks like the locals definitely appreciate and approve of having a new dining venue in the area.

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Like its name suggests 8bit is quite nostalgic of the 80s, think 8bit computer graphics and a nod towards Nintendo. This is reflected in some of the decor and the names of menu items. The fit out is bright with glass windows all around and a smallish open kitchen filled with busy staff.

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The menu items scream American diner food; burgers, hot dogs, loaded fries, soft drinks and milkshakes. The pricing of items is fairly reasonable with burgers either at $8.50 or $9.50 and the more epic offering at $13.50; dogs are $6.50 or $7.50; and sides start at $3 up to $8.50 depending on size and what you want to load on top of them. And yes, there is one vegetarian option, the very aptly named 1up mushroom burger :).

I went with a group of friends on a Friday night and between the 7 of us, we collectively sampled the following items:

8bit burger ($8.50), this had all the trimmings you’d expect. Beef pattie, lettuce, tomato, onions, ketchup, mustard, cheese and a nondescript 8bit sauce (bbq perhaps?). Taste wise this was decent without being exceptional. The group of us were unanimous in judging this burger to be good enough, but not worthy of lining up for. Or to put it in a slightly nicer way, we would come back for it again once the hype dies down slightly.

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Golden Axe ($9.50) was the chicken version, filled with a piece of crispy fried chicken, sriracha mayo, coleslaw and cheese. Personally I find this to be a better burger than the original 8bit; the chicken was crisp on the outside and tender in the middle. The mayo could have used more sriracha though.

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Overall the two varieties of burgers sampled were reasonably good. We particularly liked that the bun was firm enough to hold shape so you could eat the burgers without having it fall apart in your hands. However the burgers are not particularly large; those in our group with bigger appetites were quick to note that they were not fully sated. In saying this, the serving size was enough for me and those of my stature. I don’t want to enforce gender stereotypes, but fyi, it was the guys amongst us who found the burgers on the small side.

The 8bit dog ($6.50) was the dog topped with onion bits, pickles, mustard and ketchup. I didn’t personally try this, nor did my dining companion have too much to say about it. It was good enough to not warrant a complaint, but nor did it earn any particular praise. The large onion rings ($5) is pretty self explanatory. These were rather good. They were thick cut and cooked enough to render a juicy and sweet onion centre. Yum.

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Chilli cheese fries ($7.50). I’m not overly fond of loaded fries, so in order not to prejudice the review, these following comments are from my fellow diners who like their fries loaded. “The fries were soggy and the chilli topping was bland.” “Not very chilli, it’s just beef mince. Needs more flavour and could have used more topping.” I believe generally the feeling was quite average towards this dish.

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Peanut butter shake ($6.50). How can you go wrong with peanut butter, milk and ice cream? It was rich with peanut butter but could have been a little thicker.

I hope this review didn’t come across too harsh. Yes, there were some criticisms, but generally 8bit is a decent offering and there are definitely some pluses. Indeed 8bit has room to improve and I genuinely hope that they do improve where they can and flourish in Footscray. It is a bold move to open up a burger joint in the centre of Footscray, and that in itself is worthy of applause. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the suburb; while it is currently undergoing a slow gentrification process, dining venues in central Footscray still tend to be more shabby than chic (nb. shabby in appearance only, many of these shabby venues actually produce good food!) and there is no night life. Footscray in the dark still carries some stigma, but hopefully with the likes of 8bit, this will change and encourage more locals to come out after the sun goes down. With the popularity of 8bit, surely those with business savvy will be thinking about the possibility of opening complementary venues, perhaps a nearby cafe/bar for a catch up drink before or after a burger? 😉 Our group was definitely in want of a drinks/dessert venue close by after dinner!

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