One thing that central Liverpool has in absolute abundance is a wide variety of table service restaurants specializing in every culture imaginable, so the question posed by newcomers and visitors is bound to be: where shall we eat?
For those looking for a truly unique experience in a space that is characteristic and historically Liverpool, NYL Restaurant has it all. Situated within the Aloft Hotel at the top of North John Street in the heart of the city center, NYL is in good company among all must-see spots in Liverpool.
In fact, NYL/Aloft is a must-see in itself given that it is located within the original Royal Insurance Building built in 1903. At a time when business was booming in the essential port city, many structures were designed with the highest regard for regal elegance, and this restaurant is situated within one of those structures.
Walking into the open concept dining room, one is immediately taken by the sky high ceilings donning original plaster molding and fine wood paneling. While you’d think such a vast ceiling would make the room seem cold and empty, there is true warmth achieved in the décor which is unlike the rest of the sleek and modern Aloft. Instead, the restaurant is outfitted to match the look and feel of the historic building in which it sits.
Such an environment would have one rightfully guessing that NYL falls out of budget to the average traveller, but you’d be surprised to know that prices are reasonably average at 12-28GBP for entrees and 4-8GBP for appetizers and desserts. However, that doesn’t mean the food is at all typical.
Similar to the restaurant’s atmosphere are the elegant and well-presented dishes that taste as nice as they look. I enjoyed the chicken supreme, which came with an absolutely delicious sweet corn croquette, king oyster mushrooms, and bacon veloute. Additionally, as someone who rarely eats any kind of seafood, I found the crab cakes very light and pleasant while my seafaring guest would have preferred a higher crab-to-cake ratio.
While there are no vegan entrée options available, 3 of the 7 available choices are vegetarian and all but one of the listed side dishes are vegetarian-friendly. Vegans aren’t completely left out, however, with a small selection of vegan snacks including mixed olives on ice and a very nice beetroot carpaccio, watercress & radish salad.
At first, the portion sizes of the entrees seem rather small (especially in comparison to their inspired American counterparts) however this turned out to be a blessing, as the meals were satisfying yet left room for a real treat. For dessert, I enjoyed the key lime pie with torched meringue and apple sorbet which was absolutely delicious and the perfect ratio of sweetness to tang.
Those who’ve stopped in for lunch will be pleasantly satisfied instead of stuffed, and can happily continue their sightseeing journeys without feeling weighted down by a heavy meal. Dinner guests have the option to stick around and enjoy a live DJ on weekend evenings as well as 2-for-1 drinks from 5-7pm, and can even enjoy a game of billiards or foosball in NYL’s sister bar, wxyz lounge.
And of course, NYL is also the perfect spot for the pre-game dinner and drinks given it is only steps away from various clubs along Victoria street and a few steps away from the infamous Cavern Club on Mathew Street.
Pros: Location and atmosphere relative to pricing is unparalleled. Food is tasty and elegant without being overly foreign/inaccessible.
Cons: Limited vegan options including no entrees.
Review and Photos by Vanessa Markov