What to order at Salt Bae's restaurant

Nusret Gökçe does his Salt Bae thing

Nusret Gökçe does his Salt Bae thing

We approach an expert on the ground in Turkey for the inside word on the Salt Bae phenomenon. Just how salty is that steak?

The man the English-speaking world knows as Salt Bae, as you may have learned looking at the internet this past week, has become a social media phenomenon based on not much more than a strong signature look and a deft way of throwing salt over meat. Turkish chef and restaurateur Nusret Gökçe runs a string of steakhouses with locations in Istanbul, Ankara, Bodrum, on the Datça Peninsula and in Dubai, and is a well-known figure on the Turkish food scene, but it was his post a week ago showing him slicing and seasoning a steak with loving finesse that catapulted him into being the sort of online phenomenon that receives millions of views and launches a thousand hashtags.

In the days since he went viral, acquiring the nickname Salt Bae (or "salt babe", if you will) along the way, Gökçe has been relatively quiet, going to ground while the internet explodes around him, frothing with speculation about everything from his marital status to his relationship with Tommy Hilfiger.

One key question seems to have been overlooked, however: is the steak as good as it looks?

To get the answers, we spoke to food writer Cemre Narin, Turkey's chair of voting in the World's 50 Best Restaurants, for the word on the ground.

Related: our best steak recipes.

First up, she says, there's more to the man than just a nice line in waistcoats, round sunglasses and a flamboyant way with social media. "Nusret has been an important figure in the rising steakhouse scene in Istanbul," says Narin. "He started out as an apprentice butcher at a young age, then quit his job in 2009 and travelled to Argentina for a few months to learn more about meat in farms, butcher shops and restaurants. Very brave for a guy who'd never left the country and didn't speak any foreign languages. A life-changing trip." The steakhouse he opened on his return, called Nusr-et - a play on "et" being Turkish for meat - quickly became a success.

Unsurprisingly, the thing to order at Nusr-et, Narin says, is the steak. "You want the lokum, the tender sirloin. Lokum is the local word for Turkish delight - here it means 'soft'."

And the seasoning? What of Gökçe's signature high sprinkle of salt flakes? Narin is circumspect: "The food is not particularly salty."

Nusr-et,  Etiler, Nispetiye Caddesi 87, Beşiktaş, İstanbul, +90 212 358 30 22nusr-et.com.tr

Related: How to use salt in cooking.


Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
A look inside Charlie Carrington’s new restaurant Colours by Atlas
Toby Wilson is hosting taco degustations in Sydney
A new phase for Carlton Wine Room
Now open: Moor's Head Carlton
Aaron Carr opens Yarri in Dunsborough
Momofuku New York gets some new Aussie blood
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2013

There are a lot of food shots on Instagram: the good, the ba...

Where our chefs want to eat

We asked Australia's leading chefs to name the restaurants t...

Hot 100 2015 - Restaurant news

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

What the hell is Gelinaz anyway, and why is it shuffling?

On the eve of the second outing of one of the world’s strang...

Nahm named best restaurant in Asia

The 2014 50 Best Restaurants in Asia were unveiled this week...

Restaurants cooking with seaweed

With its complexity in flavour and texture, seaweed is the c...

On the pass

Tell us about Tomahawk’s menu, Ali...

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015

A mighty fine plate of beef short ribs with roast celery vin...

Dan Barber talks sustainable food

Farm-to-table is a neat catchcry but, argues Dan Barber, one...

Alessandro Pavoni, Ormeggio, Sydney

You’ve just released your first cookbook, a tribute to Lomba...

The 2016 GT Restaurant Guide Top 100

Here's the list of our 2016 Restaurant Guide Top 100. How ma...

First look: 108 at Noma, Copenhagen

Rene Redzepi may be headed to Sydney next month, but he's ba...

Dear Sainte Eloise to open in Potts Point

Sydney’s new wine bar is going back to basics.

Party-starting playlists

Music is a key ingredient that can turn your party from good...

Grant Achatz interview

Pat Nourse talks to the chef of Chicago’s Alinea ahead of hi...