Circa 1924 Exeter: Graduation Dinner

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After a really lovely Graduation ceremony and drinks with my friends it was already almost dinner time – my favourite! When it came to deciding where we should go, the choice was simple: Circa 1924 seafood and steak restaurant. Mhmmm. You’re in for a treat with this one!

We came home and had just enough time to put our feet up at the hotel (literally) as mum and I were suffering from severe high heel related pain before our 7pm reservation. I changed into these ridiculously beautiful and comfy bright orange heels. And you’ll never guess where they’re from! 

We hopped in a taxi (again, Exeter might not be big but high heel pain won out) and in no time at all we were being seated in Circa 1924. The staff were great: even though they were clearly mobbed as it was graduation week, they offered us a choice of tables and were more than attentive throughout the meal.

They gave us both the a la carte menu and the graduation specials. The menu itself isn’t extensive, but what is there is fantastic! I was so happy that I’d chosen to come here – it was the perfect restaurant for a celebration. 

I loved the rustic decor and the famous hedges on the 1st floor balconies (okay, famous to all Exeter students who have stumbled past the doors on the way to one of the clubs). I thought the decor was a really good fit for the vibe of the restaurant and complemented the simple yet luxurious menu.

The cocktail menu looked fabulous, but as we had already been drinking (too much) wine we all decided to stick to our poison of choice. 

Dad and I both opted for the scallop ceviche, which was served with lime, chilli, sweet potato, mint and coriander. Oh. My. Goodness. It was insanely, unreasonably delicious! The scallops were beautiful, and I loved the kick that the chilli and lime gave to the dish.

Andy opted for the spicy peanut chicken, which was served with a rice noodle salad. I didn’t taste any of his dish (mainly as he had guzzled it before I could ask!) but it looked and smelt delicious and was more than happy with it.

They looked like they had just the right amount of sauce and were excellently cooked; I loved that they were slightly charred.

I can always trust mum to order the salmon when it’s on a menu! True to form, mum ordered the cured salmon with wasabi creme, cucumber and beetroot puree. Being a bit of a salmon aficionado, when mum said that the salmon was excellent I was mightily impressed! The dish was fresh and light without being dull, as salmon can sometimes be.

On a side note, please watch her hide from the camera at all points during this meal – it’s, well, a little bit hilarious.

Onto our main courses, and I have no qualms in saying that mum and I definitely made the choice of the night when we ordered the duck ‘n’ mac. Yes, you read that correctly – duck served with a side of mac ‘n’ cheese. If you’ve read my recipes (here and here) on mac ‘n’ cheese, you’ll know how much I love the stuff, so when I say I was blown away by this dish – it really is high praise indeed.

The duck was served with pak choi and was beautifully crispy, and best of all, it was locally sourced. It has a spicy glaze that was to die for, which made a beautiful contrast to the soft, pink duck meat.


The mac n cheese was just as good as I had hoped for, and was creamy, full of flavour and the pesto topping really made this a stand out side dish.

Andy ordered the pork dish: belly pork, crispy pork dumpling, proscuitto, potato muffin, pickled fennel and a red wine jus. Oh yeah, this is one mother of a dish – and every single element of the dish is wonderful. The plate was entirely cleared by the time he was finished with it!

As loyal as my mum is to salmon, my dad is equally loyal to steak and chips! So guess who ordered the sirloin steak with chips? Mhmmm – you got it in one! Well, we were at a grill bar, so it was necessary that someone had steak, right?

And had a peppercorn sauce to go with it.

We retired to the bar for another glass or two before finally deciding it was time to go home. It was my night and I really, really didn’t want it to end!

I had such a lovely night my favourite people and couldn’t have asked for anything different. The food, the service, the atmosphere were all wonderful – and it was just fantastic to be able to spend such a lovely evening with Andy and my parents.

If you’re ever in the area I’d highly recommend a visit to Circa 1924 for a meal!
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  • It's so funny when I go out with my parents, they're so predictable with their food choices (my mum always has soup and dover sole) she also hides from the camera! What a lovely way to celebrate you graduation, the meal looks fab.

    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

  • So glad it isn't just my parents who are so predictable! It was a really lovely celebration – the food was delicious! x

  • My Mum doesn't like photos either – love those orange shoes, very stylish. The food looks delicious too

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

  • It seems to be a mum thing! They're on sale at the moment, Suze! xx

  • So glad you ended your graduation day with a delicious meal – it's the right way to do it 😉 Your duck with mac n cheese sounds DIVINE! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions

  • What a lovely meal with your parents. That steak looks divine and those lovely bright orange shoes are fabulous. xx

  • Amy

    Aw congrats Lauren! Exeter graduation is such a special occasion, I wish I could do mine all over again! I'm actually going back to Exeter mid August, so loving your recommendations.

    Young London

  • It sure is 😉 Ohhh Andrea I wish I could eat it all over again! xx

  • Shoes are on sale at the moment!! xx

  • Ahhh that's fun – what are you going back for? I know, I wish I could graduate all over again! xx

  • steve.r hudson

    The food was great, glad you enjoyed your day.