8bit Darling Square

I grew-up playing Nintendo (Mario/Duck hunt) and I like burgers, so with this marriage made in heaven surely I’ll dig 8bit? Right?

Located where the old Entertainment centre carpark used to be, 8bit holds sentry at the beginning of Steam Mill lane (a short ally with food and retail shops, which will get busier as more residents move into the Darling Square precinct). But on this Sunday arvo, it was all pretty quiet down this end (large crowds though at Tumbalong park for an Arminian festival.

First impressions, I hate to say this but the store lacked atmosphere? They had music playing, but perhaps it was the lack of diners and you know how new buildings/modern architecture can sometimes feel a bit soulless? Yeah, 8bit unfortunately had that vibe about it (even with the whole gaming décor).

On offer are 7 burgers to choose from (4 beef, 1 chicken and 2 veg options) and 4 hot dogs (most burgers and dogs named after a classic video game). We ordered the After Burner for me (which was a spicy beef burger); my wife opted out from having back-to-back days eating burgers so elected the 8bit dog; and in terms of sides, there were 2 or 3 items which we really wanted but we chose the crispy onion rings, and the milkshakes read so well, so my wife couldn’t resist ordering the peanut butter shake.

Under all that colourful paint and pixel like tiles, 8bit is essentially a fast food burger chain. Your orders are made at the service counters, but instead of waiting in the wings with a number or for your name to be called out; you’re allowed to take your seat either inside or outside as your food is cooked to order. You’ll know when to come back to pick-up your food, as you’re provided with a buzzer which is promised to “Go crazy”. Within 10 minutes the buzzer delivered on its promise, it started to buzz and then started to go crazy! Playing the Super Mario tune, the one which marks the successful completion of a stage when Mario raises the flag from the castle tops (that was real nostalgic).

When we first caught site of our food, the thing which stood out the most about it was the packaging, and then the size of the onion rings! The burger, dog, and onion rings all fitted perfectly within their containers.

It reminded me of genetically modified food though, like square watermelons so they can be easily stacked and transported. I wonder what came first for 8bit? Custom made cardboard packaging to fit the dimensions of the food? Or the food is meticulously constructed to fit within the confines of the packaging? But either way, respect to the kitchen! As I’m sure it takes some patience and precision to get the right sized onion ring to fit o-so-perfectly within the tub every time, and the burger at the perfect height to slide snugly within its mini open top box.

However I was a bit let down by my burger, the After Burner was meant to have a hot kick to it with chilli sauce, Jalapeños, and mustard sauce. However I kept taking bites and more bites hoping I’d taste the heat soon. But I got to the end of my burger with no chilli hit. After a few bites it did cross my mind that they might of given me the wrong burger (it did taste a lot like a standard Cheese burger), but we eat out quite a bit and we’ve never been given the wrong things before. Comparing what I had eaten with the description of the Cheese burger, yeah I’m pretty certain that they gave me the Cheese burger instead. And to add to the annoyance, is that the Cheese burger was $1 less than the After Burner. *headshake*. So comparing what I had today, to other burgers I’ve had in the past, unfortunately the closest comparisons which come to mind are Quarter pounders and Whoppers. I’d actually place the 8bit burger in-between the two, definitely fresher than Quarter pounds, but I think Hungry Jacks actually have the more flavourful beef patty.  

My wife’s hot dog was okay, but nothing to write home about either. The milkshake was very peanut-ty, which was a good thing. While the Crispy onion rings lived up to its name and was the stand-out! The rings were huge, perfectly covered in beer-batter and super crispy, I mean super crispy! However there were only 5 rings in total (which works out to being $1.10 per ring). And the seasoning was added after all 5 rings were placed one-on-top of the other (like a packet of lifesaver mints). Thus the first 2 rings had a good dusting of tasty salt, but the 3 below that didn’t have any seasoning at all, thus quite bland without it.

Don’t get me wrong, the meal wasn’t bad, but it didn’t wow us either. I completely understand that everything is expensive these days, so $34.50 for lunch for 2 people is expected. However we essentially had a “Fast food” meal. I’d place 8bit perhaps a notch above conventional multi-chained burger joints, but definitely a notch below the genuine trending Burger joints out there. So after eating at 3 burger places, 8bit has the lowest scoring burger in our Burger Vs Burger battle thus far (I guess someone has to be last in every race, but if they served up the right burger, considering it has ‘After burners’,  would that of given them some added boost to keep up with the big boys?).

The score:  3 stars from 5 (2 from 3 for food; 0.5 from 0.5 for service, 0 from 0.5 for atmosphere; and 0.5 from 1 for Value for money). I’m still tossing up whether or not to go back, to properly try the spicier cheese burger. But there are just so many more burger places out there to try, where I and others can spend our hard-earned cash at.

8bit- Sunday 16 December (3 stars) 

http://www.eat8bit.com.

PH: (02) 9057 6022

Darling Square, 2 Hay Street, Haymarket Sydney 

Sun-Thurs 11am – 10pm

Fri-Sat 11am – 10.30pm

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