Steak stuntman Salt Bae has delivered the clearest indication yet that his London restaurant is soon to open, and it’s a tiny caption on his Instagram story. While posing for a photo with Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Saeed Al Maktoum, cousin of the current ruler of Dubai, Nusret Gökçe wrote, in tiny, almost imperceptible text, “see soon London.”
It sounds like nothing, in the grand scheme of a London restaurant opening saga that now spans over four years; had an opening date, then didn’t; took an interlude into gold-embalmed meat; and earned so many Google Reviews without actually existing that the restaurant deleted them all. But this is just how the living meme does things: suddenly alighting at the next beef banquet in between getting cappuccinos delivered on drones and eating with just about every elite footballer on the planet.
The criticisms of Gökçe’s operation are many and manifest. There are multiple wage theft lawsuits; the food is frequently bad and expensive and does not match up to the often obnoxious showmanship; he (or his marketing team) describe his upcoming London restaurant like this:
A Spectacular Meat Feast… For All Your Senses.The “one and only” Nusr-Et experience.
You’ll taste an exquisite menu.You’ll be overwhelmed with fantastic smells.Everything you touch will be enchanting.Everything you hear will be fascinating.You’ll see glorious people, delightful presentations, and incredible shows.
Live unforgettable moments.Be entertained, amused, and pampered.Experience luxury dining like never before.
But all these things being true, he has over 30 million Instagram followers, a large restaurant group, and plenty of people who want to eat — or be seen eating — at his restaurants. Just as the appearance of impassioned reviews for a restaurant that didn’t even exist likely said more about the phenomenon than any London restaurant critic will muster when it does open, a man who relies on grandiose showmanship teasing that opening in such an understated way says something about the power that his brand wields. Like much of what Salt Bae does, the London restaurant opening will likely somehow arrive with both a bang and a whimper, with spectacle and bathos, with spontaneity and rigmarole, with gold and disappointment. The only question that remains, is when?