I love eating out and enjoy discovering new and exciting places in which to dine, so when we were invited to try Circa 1924, I was more than ready for the challenge. My curiosity was initially piqued purely by the name, because as it suggests, Circa 1924 is a 1920’s inspired seafood and steakhouse restaurant. Definitely a winning combination in my eyes! Conveniently located in the city centre of Exeter, it is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main high street in Northernhay Place to provide a high class dining experience.
Upon entering, we immediately felt at ease. The interior is full of character, with exposed beams and mood lighting as well as ambient music playing to create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. The friendly staff characterised the 1920’s hospitality perfectly, immediately greeting us with a warm welcome at the door and leading us up to our table on the first floor. As we were seated, it struck me how eclectic the mix of diners were; from families with young children and couples, to larger groups of people out celebrating various occasions.
Equally as intriguing as the restaurant’s name, was the enticing selection of cocktails available. I went for a Summer Cup, consisting of prosecco with elderflower liqueur, rhubarb liqueur, rhubarb puree and summer fruits. My husband went for a Stormy Bey, a refreshingly icy mix of dark rum, cider and ginger beer. It was presented in a wonderfully imaginative copper beer mug – great for the man that likes a cocktail but wants to retain his masculinity.
The menu was so full of choice that it was difficult to settle on what to choose. In the end, I chose Scallop Cerviche to start and my husband went for one of his favourites, Moules Mariniere. Both dishes were beautifully presented and tasted exquisite. Although many of the main courses sounded lovely, we were aware we were in a steakhouse and so felt it would be unforgivable not to give one a try, especially a steak that boasted being ‘selected for excellent marbling and mouthwatering taste’. The steak was cooked to perfection and a great size too, accompanied by triple cooked chips along side.
Now the perfect steak can of course only be accompanied by an equally exceptional sauce and it’s easy to choose a time honoured favourite, in my husband’s case, peppercorn! But with a wide selection of sauces our waiter Matt really made all the difference here, not only guiding us through the menu, but with thoughtful recommendations too to suit our tastes. We ended up choosing a blue cheese crème fraiche and a Chimmichurri sauce, which Matt described as a mixture of white wine vinegar and olive oil, with chilli and garlic. This was definitely different to the usual steak sauce accompaniment, but added an interesting kick and a new taste to the usual steak experience. With side dishes as tantalising as the mains we ended up choosing the sweet crispy softshell crab at Matt’s recommendation (a great surf and turf option) and the creamy spinach. Both were delectable!
With food this good there was no doubt in my mind that dessert was a must, no matter how full we felt. I opted for the chocolate truffle torte and my husband went for the petit fours, both providing chocolate heaven and presented with style. My husband also ordered an espresso martini, which was the perfect sugary coffee fix to end the meal and left me feeling rather jealous. We left feeling full, content and well looked after, and spent the journey home planning when we should come back for our next visit!
By Esther Baker
6 Northernhay Place, Exeter, EX4 3QJ T:01392 438545
Visit Circa 1924 online at: www.circa1924.co.uk