Ma Boyle’s is something of an institution in Liverpool City Centre having celebrated its 150th birthday this year.
Dating back to 1870, Ma Boyle’s started life as a coffee shop, later becoming an oyster bar and now operating as Ma Boyle’s Alehouse and Eatery.
I’d heard of it, of course, but in 20 years of living in Liverpool, I’m ashamed to say I’d never tried it until recently. Now I wish I’d discovered it sooner.
Located in the heart of the business district, Ma B’s once served the professional traders who dealt fine goods and later established itself as a haunt for the legal and professional services.
Having moved to the iconic Tower Building in 1974, Ma Boyles is just a stone’s throw from the Albert Dock, Pier Head and Liverpool’s Cruise Liner Terminal and is the perfect retreat for those visiting the city or work in the offices nearby.
My family stumbled across it during a day trip to the city centre last Sunday. Wishing to refuel before a serious afternoon’s shopping, we spotted it on our way to Liverpool ONE. It was a bit of a dreary drizzly day, but its’ warm, welcoming vibe and relaxing, mellow décor drew us in.
My partner and I had our heart set on a traditional Sunday dinner, so it was Ma Boyle’s infamous roast for us. Mike chose slow roast beef brisket, while I opted for sea salt and rosemary crispy pork belly with all the trimmings.
The slow-roasted brisket just melted in the mouth in contrast to the crispy pork belly rubbed with sea salt and rosemary. Both were served with seasonal vegetables, crispy potatoes and Yorkshire pudding served with herb stuffing in a deliciously rich red wine gravy.
Our two kids aren’t fussed on roast dinners, but the menu featured plenty of other options for them, from light bites and classic pub mains including a good choice of veggie and vegan dishes.
My son chose the sweet and sticky honey and sriracha chicken wings which had a bit of a spicy kick and got the thumbs up.
Meanwhile, my daughter opted for Ma’s homemade beef burger topped with melted cheese and streaky bacon, accompanied by homemade beer-battered onion rings and twice-cooked, thick-cut homemade skin-on chips.
Sadly, they’re both at that age where they’d rather play Roblox on their mobiles than make chit-chat with mum and dad, so they didn’t say much during the meal. But the fact that their plates were both licked clean was a testament to the food’s tastiness.
Our mains really hit the spot, but having the sweetest tooth ever, I was particularly looking forward to pudding.
There were just three desserts to choose from, but I had a tough time choosing as they were three of my all-time faves – Sticky Toffee Pudding, Ma’s Seasonal Crumble and Cheesecake Special. So we ordered one of each to share.
The sticky toffee pudding was to die for with an incredible moreish butterscotch sauce, while the crumble featured seasonal orchard fruits and berries with a spiced crumb topping partnered perfectly with smooth vanilla bean ice cream. But the highlight for me was the raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake served in a cute little jar with strawberries on the side which were swiftly swiped by the kids.
Pleasantly stuffed, Mike ordered another real ale while I chatted to our friendly waitress who was telling us about the venue’s popular Jazz Saturdays running through August and September.
Having not eaten out much due to the dreaded Rona, I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Ma Boyle’s. I thought the food was great – just like your ma would make – and the venue had a really nice, relaxed atmosphere. Plus, staff were visibly adhering to COVID-19 guidelines, so we felt safe.
The old lady of Liverpool has definitely still got it. Here’s to the next 150 years!
Ma Boyle’s Alehouse & Eatery, 7 Tower Gardens, Liverpool L3 1LG. Roasts served every Sunday from 1pm. Visit www.maboyles.com for more info.