Salt Bae’s London restaurant makes £4.6m profit in three months

·3 min read
Salt Bae restaurant profit - JULIAN SIMMONDS FOR THE TELEGRAPH
Salt Bae restaurant profit - JULIAN SIMMONDS FOR THE TELEGRAPH

Viral chef Salt Bae's London restaurant made a profit of £4.6m in just three months last year, as celebrity diners splashed out on expensive dishes including 24-carat gold-covered steaks.

Nusr-Et Steakhouse in Knightsbridge, London, made sales of £7m in its first three months of operations, accounts revealed. The UK branch of the restaurant opened on September 23 last year.

Its parent company, Nusret UK, said the results were "higher than expected" and had been boosted by "gaining customer attention since the opening".

Nusr-Et Steakhouse is the brainchild of Salt Bae, a flamboyant Turkish butcher who has opened a string of restaurants after finding fame on social media.

Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gökçe, came to public attention in 2017 following a series of viral internet videos and memes based around how he seasons and serves meat.

He is known for sprinkling salt in such a way that it bounces off his elbow onto food and is almost always pictured wearing round black sunglasses. His first popular video attracted more than 16 million views.

The Turkish butcher, who started life as an apprentice in steakhouses in the country, has since attracted 47 million followers on Instagram.

Salt Bae’s fame has made his restaurant a magnet for celebrity clientele. Diners at his restaurants have included David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Naomi Campbell and Jason Statham. Rihanna has also been pictured wearing a T-shirt with Salt Bae's face on.

It is unusual for a restaurant to be profitable in its first year, even more so given the impact of Omicron restrictions last Christmas which were introduced months after Nusr-Et Knightsbridge opened its doors.

Even well-established chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal have reported recent losses at their restaurants. The Kitchen Nightmare host's restaurant empire posted a £6.9m loss in the 12 months to the end of last August.

Nusr-Et’s healthy profit in part reflects its high prices. When it opened, its London restaurant initially offered a tomahawk steak covered in flakes of 24-carat gold selling for £850. The dish has since been removed from the menu but the highest priced main course is still a £680 Wagyu striploin steak. A rack of lamb sells for £200, while a burger is £40.

A bill for £37,000, which included £400 for a Baklava dessert and £18 for a side of asparagus, went viral on social media last year, sparking a nationwide debate around pricing at top restaurants. Nusr-Et Knightsbridge’s manager said at the time: “You can find these prices all around London. The service and the quality we are providing is extremely high."

Despite its popularity since opening, the branch was widely panned by reviewers. The Telegraph's food critic William Sitwell said the price of a starter of tuna tartare, at £35, was "inexcusable". Some reviewers have refused to dine there.

Salt Bae London Steak - Julian Simmonds
Salt Bae London Steak - Julian Simmonds

Regular customers have also panned the experience. On TripAdvisor, it is ranked 16,978 out of 17,465 restaurants in London.

Despite this, Nusret UK said in Companies House filings that business has been fairly stable.

"The company has built a strong network and gained awareness through its subsidiaries located in the US," directors wrote.

The London site is one of the 22 restaurants Nusret has around the world, including nine in Turkey and seven in the US. Its UK restaurant employed 55 people at the end of 2021.