8bit Footscray bills itself as “Serving Melbourne’s finest burgers, fries, hot dogs and shakes”. With a bold claim like this, and a lot of hype on social media, I thought I’d best get myself out to Footscray to see if the hype was justified.
From the moment you see 8bit from the outside, continuing to when you walk inside you get a sense of Footscray’s gentrification. Surrounded by Vietnamese shops and various other shops that look like they’ve been in business for decades, 8bit is an obvious sign that things in this part of Melbourne are changing. In any case, I’m not here to debate the pros and cons of gentrification, I’m here to discuss 8bit on its own merits.
The interior is pared back simplicity, and quite vibrant – the 1980s and 1990s hip-hop and R&B soundtrack and 8bit style prints of classic gaming consoles like the NES and Game Boy all come together to create an atmosphere that I appreciated.
In the food department, there are a a selection of burgers, hot dogs, sides and milkshakes offered. The focus is on offering a few distinct options with an emphasis on the quality and freshness of the ingredients. The 1980s and 1990s gaming theme carries on to the menu with menu items names things like “Golden Axe” and “Double Dragon”.
8bit With Cheese ($8.50)
There were a few burger options on the menu that looked good but I couldn’t go past the signature burger, the “8bit with cheese”. If you’re going to judge a place on its burgers, you have to go with a classic option. This one had a combination of beef, tomato, lettuce, red onion, pickles, mustard, cheese and 8bit sauce.
You’ll have to excuse the poor photo of the burger but the ingredients in this one had slid to the bottom of the burger and sauce was spilling out of the bottom of the wrapper. I had to do a bit of surgery to get it all together again and but that stage it wasn’t pretty. What was important though, was the flavour and in that department the 8bit with cheese delivered. The taste reminded me of the burgers at Shake Shack but not as salty. The beef patty was cooked medium and very flavoursome, with the rest of the ingredients present in just the right proportions to create a really well balanced burger flavour wise.
The only thing that I would have changed was the size of the bun. You can see from the photo that it’s a sizeable bun and I found myself pulling the ingredients out at the end because I felt I’d had too much bread. This isn’t a criticism of the bread itself, which is a soft (thankfully not brioche) bun buttered on the inside, but of the quantity – in this case bigger isn’t better.
Fatal Fury ($7.50)
Lauren ordered a “Fatal Fury” hot dog which contained Jalapeño & cheddar sausage, cheese sauce, chilli beef and jalapeños.It had a nice balance of heat and just the right amount of cheese with the use of meat on top of the bun as well as in the sausage being a great addition.
Potato Gems, Small ($4.00)
I was quite happy to see that on top of fries (a few varieties) and onion rings was the offering of potato gems. I loved these as a child and it has been years since I’ve eaten them.. Little hash browns that were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and not overly greasy at all. They come with either ketchup or mayo.
There’s an arcade machine that has unlimited free credits of X-Men v Street fighter! For the record, my combination of Wolverine and Ryu kicked some serious butt.
I’d heard a lot about 8bit and was glad to finally get around to trying it. The flavours and ingredients are spot on and it’s a fun spot to eat in. This place can get busy and I have heard from a few people that when the kitchen gets overwhelmed the quality of the food can take a hit. All I can speak from is my experience though and, based on that I’d certainly go back if I was in the area to try one of the other delicious sounding burgers or hot dogs on the menu along with one of the tempting shakes.
8 Droop Street
Mon – Sun: 11:00am to 11:00pm