Open since November 2015, Dive is one of the Northern Quarter’s hidden gems. Situated beneath the NQ in the basement bar, they’ve recently refreshed their menus with lots of quirky cocktail additions on the drinks menu and bigger and bolder items on the food menu.
As Thursday is the new Friday, we popped in to try their new drinks and food to kick off the weekend early. With new sharing cocktails and more vegan and vegetarian options and mammoth portion sizes, we couldn’t resist.
We started the evening off with the revitalised cocktail menu, with drinks priced between £6.50 and £8.00. If you think you’re a cocktail connoisseur, think again. Dive is now home to some of the most unusual cocktails on the NQ scene and there is sure to be something you haven’t tried before.
Their take on The Good Ole Fashioned has hickory smoke flowing out of the jar as the lid is lifted. Those who are into a neat whisky, definitely need to try this cocktail with a modern twist.
The Bloody Mary is turned into Mary’s Smokin’ and it certainly is! With a strong scent of tomato followed by copious amounts of chilli flake garnish this a warning of the spice to come. The drink is a bit of a shock to the system at first, but the aftertaste was good – smoky and rich. For something fruitier there’s Moonshine Julep, a twist on the classic mojito with a winning combination of lime, mint and peach.
One of our favourites was the simplest on the menu but definitely one of the best - the Frisky Whisky. Made from Jameson’s & freshly pressed apple juice, it’s basically an alcoholic smoothie – perfect for gym junkies who have had a hard session or for vegans on a night on the town.
Dive have clearly mastered the art of taking some of the old classics and giving them a modern twist. They’ve also created three sharing cocktails which are perfect for groups and can serve up to eight people at once.
Jungle Juice is served with a bottle of prosecco in the top whilst Hoochy Tea is an adult version of the Hooch alcopop with a pretty orange and raspberry garnish which will transport you to the deep south of America.
To soak up the boozy goodness from the cocktails, we got to try some of the new additions to the food menu. The mini sliders are a winning combination for those who don’t want a big meaty burger. We opted for the Pulled Kentucky Pork, Mini Hot Dog and Spicy Falafel sliders (v).
Pulled pork on a brioche bun is a classic slider, and this one really delivered. The pork was hot and tender with the right amount of marinade and BBQ sauce.
The hot dog was a real treat too. It came with a zig zag of American mustard and ketchup which brought out the flavours of the pork but the mini falafel was a clear favourite. Rather than being fully blended and smooth, full chickpeas are squashed into a mini patty to give it lots of crunch.
We also tucked into Mac ‘n’ Balls (v) which stayed hot and creamy on the inside whilst the pasta remained al dente through frying. The BBQ Bacon Balls are served in a mini frying pan with a honey BBQ sauce. Wrapped in bacon, & using pork & beef, these are for those meat lovers!
Small doesn’t mean that it’s not mighty. For one very hungry person (or two peckish), the Fully Loaded Nachos with Pulled Pork served with salsa, sour cream and guacamole hit the spot. This dish had a good cheese:chip ratio and plenty of pork. The guacamole was fresh and smooth unlike the lumpy mess you get in a bottle.
The finale was the shots, aptly named 3 Shots of Danger and the Face Changer (says it all in the name) The first shot is a chilli tequila, not for the faint hearted at all. Finished off with a shot of lemon juice to clean the palette, these shots are made for a lads’ night out.
The new menus at Dive NQ get our seal of approval. We can’t wait to go back to eat our own body weight in meat and share more boozy buckets.
Tib St, Manchester M4 1SH