“By offering many unique options to meatlovers, Nusr-Et quickly brought extra flair to the steakhouse culture.” Nusr-Et
When there’s so much hype, good and bad surrounding a restaurant your expectations are quite naturally heightened. This was the case when we visited Nusr-Et, that’s part of the Dining Collection located at The Galleria in Abu Dhabi last week for a birthday celebration. In case you have never heard of Nusr-Et (seriously you must have be living under a rock) it’s received so much attention due to its flamboyant founder Nusret Gökçe, more widely known as Salt Bae.
Internet sensation Gökçe, is a Turkish butcher, chef and restaurateur who launched Nusr-Et, a chain of Turkish steakhouses. He became famous for his own personal, some may say controversial, style of meat preparation and his over pronounced salt-sprinkling technique, hence the nickname Salt Bae.
Dining at Nusr-et is not just a meal but an experience, where you as guests are extras in the show, everything that’s presented at the table is either poured from a great height, set alight or ferociously chopped in a dramatic nature. Honestly, while I may have been underwhelmed by the decor (more of that later) I was charmed by the overall theatrics and the service was good but not overwhelming (they forgot on elf our dishes).
Since opening in 2010, Gökçe’s Nusr-Et Steakhouse concept has grown significantly in his native Turkey and now firmly embedded itself in the Middle East dining scene with venues in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Its global popularity is also on the rise with venues in Miami and New York already open attracting celebrity patronage, with stars such as David Beckham frequenting them. There’s now also a Nusr-Et Burger joint in Istanbul, same quality of meat but a more affordable option for most.
Two things that are very popular beside the steaks is the Nusr-Et special sushi that’s torched tableside and the Nusr-Et burger that we had served quartered on a board to share. Top recommended dessert is the baklava, a familiar syrupy dessert hailing from Gökçe’s native Turkey, tasty but not anymore memorable than others I’ve tried here and in Istanbul itself. As expected it’s really all about the meat, top quality steaks that keeps carnivores coming back time and time again. Starters are unsurprisingly beef orientated with beef carpaccio, smoked beef, smoked ribeye and steak tartar as well as two seafood options of jumbo shrimp and the sushi.
Six varieties of steaks are available including the Nusr-Et kobe, there’s also beef and lamb cuts, two different burgers, barbecued Turkish sausage and three types of meatballs. As a vegetarian I was hesitant to visit but found a couple of dishes on the menu that are designed for the herbivore including a mozzarella and tomato caprese, Nusr-Et spaghetti, a selection of salads, a selection of sides and of course desserts.
Neighbouring venues that make up some of The Galleria’s Dining Collection such as 99 Sushi Bar, La Petite Maison, Cafe Milano and Butcher & Still are all high-end venues. I expected the Nusr-Et decor to be in a similar vein but I found it to be too illuminated (probably due to the use of sharp knives and fire) and the expanse of chilled cabinets looked much like a supermarket meat counter. However, the bar and lounge areas with their oversized chandelier were more like the calibre I expected, of course this is all open to personal interpretation, each to their own and all that.
Love him or hate him Salt Bae is maximising his popularity in this age of social media and it’s not just hype, the meat is of unprecedented quality (so I’m told) and actually not as overpriced as you may expect in this region. If you are a steak fan Nusr-Et has to be on your list, you never know you might even get to meet the man himself.
NUSR-ET STEAKHOUSE ABU DHABİ
Location: Level 1 (below the Four Seasons Hotel), The Galleria, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 679 9949
All the views are all my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2018. All rights reserved. Two additional photos including photo of #saltbae used with courtesy of www.nusr-et.com.tr/en/home.aspx