Kensington & ChelseaNews

Salt Bae restaurant ‘obscene’ as diners pay £30k for meals next to poorest Londoners

By Hannah Neary, local democracy reporter

A posh London restaurant has been dubbed “obscene” for charging £30,000 for meals while many people living nearby cannot afford to eat.

The Knightsbridge steak restaurant is serving gold leaf-covered steak for hundreds of pounds as local families rely on food banks.

Nusr-Et Steakhouse, run by celebrity chef Nusret Gökçe (aka Salt Bae), has raised eyebrows since it opened last month with a menu offering a £100 burger and £630 steak.

Local Labour councillor Emma Dent Coad said it is shocking that people are selling meals for “obscene” prices while families starve nearby.

The former Kensington MP said there are over 20 food banks in the borough.

She added: “The fact we have so many charities is almost as obscene as a gold-leaf steak.

“We are the most unequal borough in Britain.”

One customer claimed they were charged over £37,000 for dishes including an £850 steak covered in gold leaf when dining at the Nusr-Et on Friday (October 08).

Cllr Dent Coad claimed the borough is home to London’s poorest neighbourhood, Kensal Town.

She continued: “It’s probably a half-hour bus ride from where you can buy a £600 steak covered in gold leaf. That says it all about the borough.

“If people want to waste their money on idiocies like that then it’s their choice.

“Maybe they should have a thought for the food banks that are running out of food already.

“Unfortunately, people who want that kind of obscene luxury don’t have that kind of heart.”

She said food poverty is becoming more common in Kensington and Chelsea.

“After the recent cuts to Universal Credit there are more people going to food banks,” she said.

“Lots of them aren’t receiving enough donations.

“We shouldn’t have to set up this huge network of charities giving people food.

“It should be a basic human right that people are paid more for their work and if they can’t work as a society we should be supporting people so they have enough money to feed themselves.”

Samia Badani, CEO of local charity the SPACE, said there has been a sharp rise in demand for food banks since the start of the pandemic.

The group holds a weekly market and Saturday food hub serving between 400 and 600 residents regularly.

Samia said: “Contrary to misconception, food poverty is not limited to one specific geographical area in Kensington and Chelsea.

Former Kensington MP said there are over 20 food banks in the borough

“It is not surprising that there are as many as 20 food banks in the borough.

“We regularly serve people who live in Chelsea side by side with people who will never experience food poverty.

“I was shocked to hear people describing the queues outside our centre as the ‘poor people’s corner’.”

She added: “Food poverty is a reality and people take no joy in queuing to access basic necessities.

“It takes a lot out of people to come forward and ask for support.

“We see people who are in work, often work two jobs to make ends meet and some cant afford their rent or their mortgage.

“We need to change our attitude to food. It is heart-breaking to see food excess or waste when there is such a demand for it.

“We have now been struggling for months to get enough supplies to meet the demand for food in the borough.

“The solution to this requires everyone to work together and this includes local businesses.”

Cllr Sina Lari, chair of Kensington & Chelsea Labour Group, urged the restaurant to help donate to local causes tackling food poverty.

He added: “Our borough contains the statistically most deprived area of London where there is a pressing need for food, including cooked food.

“Some restaurants and businesses in Kensington & Chelsea are donating hot food to support the most vulnerable in our communities.

“I call upon Nusr-Et to do the right thing and donate to schemes that feed the vulnerable and hungry in our borough.”

Reality TV star Gemma Collins recently revealed she donated bags of bras to charity after feeling guilty about spending £1,450 at the restaurant on a meal with her boyfriend.

Nusr-Et Steakhouse was contacted for comment.

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