There is a certain blandness that one may observe when wandering Footscray in search of lunch. It’s a combination of the lack of variety that runs down Hopkins and Barkly streets – Vietnamese pho there, and there and everywhere, with few other ethnic restaurants in the mass of the ubiquitous noodle bars and bakeries that most define the food scene in Footscray.
But a short way up Gordon Street is a place that defies this trend. With its monochrome wallpapers covering the exterior, it’s hard to miss 8-bit, the new burger joint that challenges the Asian-dominated scene. And with its regular long lines it’s proved a smashing success, challenging the old conventions with a daring directness.
When walking into 8-bit one may get the feeling that they’ve been transported to New York, with burgers being served up straight from kitchen to lunch bar, combined with a fresh, youthful theme centered on the old 8-bit video games – hence its name.
Luckily when I stepped in it was just before the lunch rush – thus I was able to order an Altered Beast burger, with a small side of beer-battered chips. Armed with this order I sat down behind the bar, and took in the absolutely delicious smells wafting from the open kitchen.
The Altered Beast is burger comprised of beef, lettuce, onion, cheese and a special home-made sauce all served in a freshly-baked bun. But with just one bite it’s hard to believe that it’s made out of earthly ingredients – this is fast food that will make you swear off Macca’s for life. The patty is sweet and juicy, and with the crisp lettuce and bun you won’t waste a drop of that smashing 8-bit sauce.
There’s a lot more to the menu than just the Beast, though – from lightly-battered onion rings, hot dogs and milkshakes, there’s always a good variety to choose from. As the new contender in the Footscray dining scene, it’s done a magnificent job in giving this weary diner something else to eat.