Located in Marvila, El Bulo is in the center of one of the most hipsters neighborhoods of the Portuguese capital, next to places like Fábrica Braço de Prata, MUSA or That Place That Does not Exist. Increasingly popular among Lisbon residents, Marvila - and Beato - are on their way to becoming fashionable neighborhoods, with new dining spaces associated with cultural spaces, thus creating a new identity for a forgotten Lisbon area for far too many years.
Despite the hype, the truth is that El Bulo does not meet the expectations of those who will eat an author's meal. The space is cosmopolitan, decorated according to the type of food with all the cultural characteristics associated with South America. Very ample, it creates a good atmosphere for those who are dining. Just a side note: I'm not a fan of live music in restaurants. It becomes boring to have to speak louder and louder while someone sings bad covers from the '80s.
For starters, we eat two empanadas, one of cheese and ratatouille and one of meat. Tasty, crispy and well-seasoned. It seemed like the beginning of a meal that would make us salivate. We followed with spicy tuna tartar with sesame seeds and chives which was also quite appetizing although it seemed to have been done for some time, given the speed with which it came to the table and some dryness of the fish. Good, but not amazing.
For the main course, we ordered a surf & turf cod - accompanied by Atlantic Gambon and thyme polenta - and Argentine beef steak. On the first course, the highlight was entirely the cod. Very well cooked and seasoned, it was the only high point of the dish since the rest seemed to be just sprinkling, such as the small amount of polenta, hidden by an exaggerated mountain of salad. The picanha… Well, it was exactly that: argentine beef steak, something that can be eaten in several restaurants in Lisbon, some specialized in mature meat. It turns out to be a dish without great prominence, for those who are accustomed to eating this kind of meat. With not a lot of seasoning, it quite blended too.
To sum up, El Bulo could be an interesting experience considering the concept, the chef's experience, the dynamism of the neighborhood that welcomes him but turns out to be a little over-priced considering that other establishments in Lisbon can provide better explosions of flavors with more welcoming prices.