So you are probably thinking – what is the connection between a 1920s, prohibition-inspired, restaurant and bar, and the humble crayfish? Well, the answer is Circa 1924’s head chef Lauri Hilli, whose Swedish roots have inspired the team to celebrate the tradition of Kräftskiva on Thursday 29th October, a feast of crayfish and schnapps, and its inviting Exeter residents to join them.
Following the threat of the crayfish population being wiped out in Swedish waters around the start of the 20th century, a fishing restriction was imposed, limiting catches to just a few weeks in August. And thus, crayfish became an exclusive and much sought-after delicacy and the crayfish party was born.
Rob Weeks, Circa 1924 co-owner, says: “We had planned on holding our crayfish party in August, as per tradition, but it turned out that all UK suppliers were out of stock, keeping up with Scandinavian demand. So, as we like to do things properly, we have delayed our celebration until October, so that we can provide our guests with copious amounts of crayfish, backed up with a generous helping of schnapps.
“We are taking bookings now and hope to attract a good crowd, so that we can celebrate in true Scandi style. Other than steak, Circa 1924 is all about great seafood and we are really excited about our seafood banquet, which is quite possibly a first in Exeter.”
The Circa 1924 Kräftskiva will follow the usual format: tables will be adorned with brightly coloured tablecloths, candles and guests given paper hats (much like a British Christmas dinner). The meal will consist of big bowls of steamed crayfish, bread and cheese, topped off by song and shots of schnapps.
Schnapps is another Swedish favourite, and Lauri explains: “The alcohol is referred to as ‘moonshine’, because traditionally it is illegally brewed and flavoured by locals at home. Our cocktail bar is decked out just like an American prohibition-style moonshiner bar, and so serving Scandi moonshine schnapps seems very apt.”
Circa 1924, the new independent steak and seafood restaurant, with cocktail bar, is located just off Exeter High Street at 6 Northernhay Place. The team has put together a calendar of mouthwatering events for 2015, with one food and one drink evening each month.
To book a place at Circa 1924’s Kräftskiva or to find out about other event call: 01392 438545 or visit the website http://www.circa1924.co.uk