I’m getting a sense of déjà vu…
Ok, it’s true, this isn’t the first time we’ve spoken about the chef and viral meme sensation known as Salt Bae opening his first London restaurant. But given that it was first reported Gökçe was planning to open in the capital back in July 2017, we thought it was high time we check in on his progress.
According to Hot Dinners, Gökçe now plans to open the first London location of his Nusr-Et Steakhouse brand in The Park Tower hotel in Knightsbridge, and even intends to personally oversee the selection (and, presumably, seasoning) process for the meats served at the restaurant.
Opening a restaurant more than two years after you became a viral hit hardly feels like grabbing the bull by the horns…
You’re right, although Gökçe, who originally established the Nusr-Et brand in Istanbul back in 2010, has opened a slew of steak restaurants across the globe since becoming Insta-famous. His most recent one was in New York, where restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo dubbed it a “rip-off”, describing the steak as a “shoe-leather-tough bone-in ribeye” served with “high-school-grade French fries [that] came to the table 20 minutes before the steak did”. Apparently the meal cost Cuozzo and his two dining companions $521.45 (just over £400) between them. And as if to rub salt on the wound, so to speak, they all left “craving a snack”.
Ouch! It’s almost as if a steak needs more than the spectacle of a man flamboyantly flicking his wrist and letting the salt bounce off his forearm onto the meat to make it taste good
Indeed. And despite the fact that famous faces from around the world have dined with Gökçe - including David Beckham, DJ Khaled, and even Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – it would not appear to be plain sailing at the chef’s restaurant business. Bloomberg reported back in March that the steakhouse chain's owner, a Turkish firm called Dogus Holding, was struggling to repay foreign-exchange loans due to the plunging value of the lira following Turkey’s recession and was seeking to restructure its debt.
Blimey… is there any good news for Gökçe?
Well despite the fact that the original Salt Bae video was posted so long ago, Gökçe’s relevance doesn’t appear to have been completed eroded. Last year he had a cameo appearance in the hit Showtime series Billions, where he was seen preparing a steak with his trademark flourish before serving it to a female diner using a razor-sharp steak knife… suffice to say the Health and Safety Executive are likely to suffer a coronary if he tries to do that over here.