by Hannah Neary
The manager of Salt Bae’s much-ridiculed London restaurant has spoken out for the first time – defending its insane prices.
The boss of Nusr-Et Steakhouse has clapped back about the eye-watering cost of dishes, like gold-covered steak and £50 cappuccinos.
Mr Mehmed said the Knightsbridge restaurant serves the best meat in the world and backlash over five figure bills is “just talk” in an exclusive interview with the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Salt Bae – real name Nusret Gökçe – is a Turkish chef and social media star, who went viral for his seductive meat seasoning and cooking techniques in 2017.
He has multiple steak restaurants around the world, including his native country.
After opening its doors to Londoners in September, the restaurant has come under fire with diners complaining of a £37,000 bill and others saying they paid £2,000 to be “treated like babies”.
But Mr Mehmed is not phased by the haters, insisting you get what you pay for.
He said: “Some people, they want to just talk.
“People have complained because they have seen bills on social media for people who’ve paid £10,000 for a bottle of wine.
“But you can find these prices all around London. The service and the quality we are providing is extremely high.
“It’s more interactive than most restaurants – we cook and prepare the food in front of you, like our traditional baklava, which is a very popular dessert.”
Gold leaf ‘doesn’t improve the taste’
Items on the menu include an £850 steak peppered in gold and a £100 burger.
But Mr Mehmed said the gold leaf makes no difference to meat. He added: “It doesn’t improve the taste or change the quality.”
Mr Mehmed said the most popular dish is Tomahawk steak, which can be covered in gold leaf for up to £1,450.
He said it is popular because of its great taste and because it is the piece of meat that made Mr Nusret famous after a video of him salting one went viral.
He added: “The gold steak is something different, it’s the best in London.”
They also do vegan dishes – a range of salads – that can also be sprinkled with gold if you fancy it.
Mr Mehmed insists all staff are given world-class training and try every single dish on the menu before working at the restaurant.
He said: “When I first tried them I was saying ‘wow’. Every single meat is very high quality.”
Salt Bae staff on low pay as whiskey sells for £25k
But despite their world-class skills, staff at the restaurant are paid pennies in comparison with the cost of the food.
One of their toilet attendants would need to work for three weeks to afford a gold steak and a chef’s hourly wage equates to a side of mashed potato.
When asked about this, Mr Mehmed avoided the question.
Despite the critics, a string of celebrity guests have eaten at the London joint, including David Beckham and Gemma Collins.
Mr Mehmed said: “We are also successful because the brand is popular and well-known with customers around the world.
“We show hospitality, we show everyone to their table and cut the meat in front of them.”
The restaurant has an air of exclusivity, with a gold barrier outside and blacked-out windows.
There is a giant picture of Salt Bae himself on a wall by the entrance, which countless customers pose next to for selfies.
The interior also feels more like a trendy bar than a high-end restaurant, with a strong theme of gold and copper throughout, presumably to match the gold on the dishes. Even the fire extinguishers are copper-coloured.
Mr Mehmed admits many items on the menu are expensive.
He says a glass of wine ranges from £12 to £50, or as much as £25,000 for whisky in a hand-crafted bottle.
But despite this, he insists the restaurant has something for everyone, including kids and diners on a lower budget.
The Nusr-Et steak houses are owned by Turkish hospitality company D.ream International, which also owns swanky sushi restaurant Roka and high-end restaurant Oblix at the Shard.
Mr Mehmed said the business has been a huge success so far.
The London branch has made more money than any of the company’s other restaurants world-wide, he claims.
“So far, so good,” he says with a wink.
(Sources : msn.com)