New venue: Eighty Eight opens in the Hunter Valley on Saturday.
New venue: Eighty Eight opens in the Hunter Valley on Saturday. Photo: Matthew B. Stewart

Scott Bolles

Plenty of restaurants spawn kitchen gardens, but when Eighty Eight opens in the Hunter Valley this Saturday it'll be the reverse - a restaurant inspired by a kitchen garden.

In 2012, Roberts restaurant head chef George Francisco planted a 1.5-hectare garden.

Despite overheads, which include a full-time gardener and a permaculture consultant, the kitchen garden has lowered food costs at Roberts from more than 30 per cent to about 26 per cent, with increased supply inspiring the new venue.

''Because I'm from the US, people are always saying, 'Why don't you do American food?'. I'm predicting the next trend will be back to healthy eating. We will embrace it at Eighty Eight. You'll be able to eat vegan, raw and dairy-free. Gluten-free, no problem,'' he says.

With air-dried kale chips and pea soup on the opening menu, Francisco has lured Edwin Rosenkranz, a chef with the Golden Door on his CV, to Eighty Eight.