With meat delivered fresh every day from their Norfolk butcher, Middletons should be a cut above the other steakhouses in town.

The Watford eaterie in King Street is the first restaurant the business has opened inside the M25 and in a town centre and replaces Banana Tree which left Watford recently.

The decor is sleeker and more grown-up than some of the Shoreditch inspired venues that have arrived in the area recently, with padded booths paired with plump upholstered chairs so every diner can take a comfortable seat.

It also plays a pleasing selection of laidback hits from the ‘90s and Noughties such as Lightening Seeds, adding to the stylish rather than trendy atmosphere.

Wines are all very well but most waiters can uncork a bottle without messing it up so I always like to judge a restaurant by its cocktails. The Passion certainly lived up to its name with flavours of watermelon, passionfruit and sweet & sour mixing with Absolut citron to create a fruity and refreshing drink with a subtle kick. The Peach Punch mocktail was pleasant but less impressive, tasting mostly of lemonade.

Calamari is also another good benchmark for quality and theirs, served with garlic mayonnaise as a starter, tasted fresh with only a few slightly chewy pieces. The sticky BBQ wings were cooked perfectly, falling off the bone, but the sauce was a little watery for our liking without that finger-licking quality you hope for.

The meal really took a delicious upwards turn when my surf and turf arrived. I chose the piri piri king prawns over the lobster and was pleased to find they had been properly prepared with the backs sliced open and cleaned. The shells slipped off with a few tugs meaning I could concentrate on enjoying their flavours rather than fussing around with peeling them. I chose a medium rare cooked 8oz ribeye instead of the sirloin and was not disappointed. The flavours were gorgeous and I barely touched it with any of the peppercorn sauce, instead using the generous portion to douse my fries which arrived looking slightly pale.

My other half went for the BBQ burger, made with 100 per cent steak meat, which had a strong flamed grilled taste which perhaps overpowered some of the flavours of the cheddar cheese and onion marmalade.

Dessert was another highlight. We both choose from the specials menu unable to resist the lure of the chocolate orange cheesecake, that looked handmade, tasted divine and came as a generous slice served with a choice of cream or icecream on the side.

When it comes to steaks, Middletons is at the top of its game and the seafood is also to be recommended, it just needs a few tweaks to some areas of the menu.

It’s definitely a great choice for a meal where you actually want to eat without bumping chairs with a neighbouring diner and talk without shouting.

Details: middletons-shg.co.uk/restaurants/watford/