It was a dark and mild evening (ooooh the dark and mild exciting start) when we ventured into the heart of Exeter and followed our hunger directors (tum-tum devices) to the newly re-furbished Circa1924.
I’m a picky man when it comes to eating out. Picky is not another term for awkward, not when it’s used within the world of restaurants. It means that I know what I don’t like. Where I don’t want to spend my money. And theres the million quid question – What do you want from your dining experience? This can change depending on what you what to eat. The theatre and opulence that is the fabled Michelin stars? Stick to your ribs, beard smothering oh-jeez-this-is-good-don’t-look-at-me eating? The feeling of quietly smugging to yourself when you find a gem of a place that serves everything just right? A great sandwich place that actually seasons their egg mayo! To eat or not to eat, that truly is the question.
In the interests of fairness, I must say that I have eaten here before. It was quite some time ago and I had a wonderful evening. But that was then and this is now. And a restaurant is only as good as its last plate of food. So when I strode towards the restaurant, I peered in through the window at the already smiling faces sat at intimately lit tables, I began to recall why I liked the first visit…
Circa is a lovely place. Warm welcome, tick. Relaxed environment, tick. Knowledgeable and passionate staff, tick. In fact, this restaurant has more ticks than a Labrador after an all day grassy walk in September (note to self, don’t talk about Ticks in a food blog).
The menu is innovative and inviting but with some friendly familiar faces served up for those that know what they want before they arrive (you know who you are, the ‘when I go out I always choose the steak’ diners – not knocking you, in fact order one of their steaks, they kick ass!). They offer choices that combine Scandi-influences with local produce that keeps food miles as low as possible. Focussing equally on the quality of the ingredients and knockout deliciousness, each course was as memorable as the last. Not to overlook how beautiful the plating up is. We’re now a nation of armchair Masterchef critiques and so we know the importance of odd number plating, tasteful smears and how foams often deflate before serving (unless the correct gelling agent is used – obvs!). We know that with all the hand made plates in the world, flavour is king above all else. So, with that in mind LONG LIVE THE KING! The food at Circa 1924 looks great and delivers torpedoes of flavour, direct to the hull of your tastebuds.
The incredible Harry Wild, seductively sips one of their bespoke cocktails.
Addictive deep fried oysters echoing of the big blue sea, nestling on a zingy caper pillow – classy but also a little naughty. I dare you not to smile after slurping one or two out.
Gravalax with a cracker made of dreams! This wonderful starter paired beautiful cured fish with cucumber that had gotten itself into quite the delightful pickle…
Crispy Softshell crab – crunchy, sweet, heady and delicious – thank you little crab. Thanks for deciding to only wear a light jacket, rather than a suit of armour. You moorish sun-of-a-bitch you!
This steak was so relaxed before grilling, it was wearing a dressing gown and drinking a White Russian! Alongside truffle chips it tasted smokey and was LIKE BUTTER on the chomp-scale.
This panna cotta had a wobble like a hippo on bike riding down a cobbled street…
A chocolate desert that TORTE me the sexy darkside of puddings…shhhhh don’t tell the vicar…
Here we have the raspberry village. A mouthwateringly delicious place where tiny pudding lovers go to laugh at those that abstain from the sweet full stop at the end of a meal…yeah you heard me SWEET FULL STOP – it didn’t las long.
Yes, we ordered 3 puddings – what!!
*Honesty addition* – I also ordered a delicious lamb loin main dish (Loin Of Lamb, potato terrine, minted pea purée & lamb jus – OMG) but ate it faster than I could snap it! Sorry. Not sorry.