Sala de Corte, Lisbon

Oh, how I wanted to love Sala de Corte.

In fact, when I was there I thought I did. Only with hindsight has it become clear that I had my holiday goggles on. Looking back on the meal has just revealed too many gripes that I can't led slide.

Aesthetically, the Lisbon-based steakhouse is lovely. Row upon row of copper pans and slick marble counters, it certainly hits many a 2017 Instagram interiors trend. The kitchen has taken the same trend-based approach to its menu - just here, it hasn't worked. 
Things started well. Tiny, crisp pastries stuffed with pigeon were a welcome amuse-bouche, and the waiter was more than accommodating.
Unfortunately, my praise ends there.
Steaks are plonked into the centre of enormous wooden chopping boards, surrounded by random scatterings of odds and ends presumably found knocking about the fridge. To the left, four cherry tomatoes, served not quite raw but not quite cooked either. To the right, a pile of red peppers and another of salt, which I would have assumed to be a mistake had the same layout not been echoed on my sister's board. Aside from my personal vendetta against faddy mock-crockery, serving bloody meat on a wooden board is grossly unhygienic. Not to mention it does nothing to keep the food warm. Another note on the utensils - if you're going to specialise in steak, please, please invest in decent steak knifes. Nothing sours a dining experience quite like hacking at a sirloin with a blunt implement.
Although let down by the cutlery, steak itself was rather lovely, served à la Goldilocks, just right, if Goldilocks suddenly developed a penchant for the prime rib.
The potatoes were good, chips crisp and mashed potato glistening with truffle oil. The béarnaise wasn't bad either. The roasted veggies were fine. 

As I said, at the time I was luxuriating in the folly of being on 'oliday, so at the time none of these things bothered me too much. Perhaps I was unwilling to admit that my choice had been an expensive dud. In light of this, we still ordered pudding. On the recommendation of the waiter, we chose the textures of salted caramel. How wonderful! Looking forward to the crunch of a biscuit, some sponge perhaps, we waited in anticipation of what this nondescript pud could bring.

And what did it bring, you ask? Why, a martini glass of creamy nonsense.
Aside from the pretentious serving dish, this pud was sickly sweet even by my standards. As for texture, there was none, unless you count the inclusion of pellets of Butterkist toffee popcorn that got stuck between our teeth. Sauce and sugar do not guarantee a wonderful dessert. Nor does attaching salted caramel to a title, presumably to adhere to yet another trend. 

Pudding is my favourite part of every meal. As such, I expect to recognise some sort of pastry work. This was a glorified glass of carnation caramel topped with popcorn. Thoroughly disappointed with this pudding, even at the time, we stopped for a couple of glorious Pastéis de Belém on the way home.

I think I walked into Sala de Corte hoping for a Hawksmoor experience, Lisbon-style, so forgive me if I have let my spoiled Londoner's perspective cloud my objective judgment. From a quick browse of the Internet, everyone else seems to love it. It was these opinions that urged me there in the first place. Aside from the pudding, the food itself wasn't too bad. It's a shame that shoddy implements can let a place down so badly.