Sitting right in the middle of Midsummer Boulevard in between the Hub and the Centre, Middletons has been a staple venue for us since it opened a few years ago. Known for it’s good portions, decent value and solid quality, it’s as good a good shout for a steak dinner as you’ll get in the centre of town. With a new season comes a new menu and they invited the Family P down to take a closer look.
Firstly, a bit of full disclosure; The Child likes Middletons a fair bit, perhaps not as much as the Zen Garden a few doors down (that has more to do with the chocolate fountain than anything else), but it’s still an already very popular choice in our house. The Children’s menu has multiple options with both small and large(r) sizes for all the kids although the portions sizes for both are still very generous. While the dishes offered to their patrons of the future could never be accused of being adventurous, they are clearly as well prepped and prepared as the adult dishes.
Looking at the menu, I have to admit that it really wasn’t clear which were the new dishes and with a menu of this size it’s always tricky to avoid being overwhelmed and eating the same thing every time you visit. We asked our waiter to help us point out the new additions and as suggested ordered the newly added hot wings while The Child opted for the garlic bread.
Garlic bread always goes down well with The Child, it’s a perennial favourite which never ceases to be requested wherever we are, this example was crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft, buttery and loaded to the max with garlicy goodness. Let’s be fair, it’s a little lacking on the presentation front but it did taste nice and The Child practically inhaled it in very short order. The hot wings were very punchy – perhaps too much so. The crispy bread coating was a proper roaster that kept the chilli heat for much longer than expected. It was so chilli powered that it was by far the predominant flavour and any whisper of the chicken underneath was lost completely. For those of us who like a hot wing it was certainly a significant heat level, but for the uninitiated such as Mrs P, it was just too much.
Mains were a straightforward affair with plenty of protein. The Child went left-field a little and ordered the make your own haloumi wraps which actually went down an absolute treat with plenty of veg to keep the Rib parents happy! And speaking of ribs, both Mrs P and I had examples. Mine came alongside a quarter chicken as well as a ribeye steak cooked to a perfect rare and seasoned very well, it was easily the best thing we ate which was very unfortunate because It meant I had to share it. The piri piri chicken was succulent and perfectly tasty if a little unremarkable as was the three bean salad on the side. Both needed a bit more salt to bring them alive but it’s a small point in the grand scheme of things.
Mrs P’s ribs were correctly doused in BBQ sauce but unfortunately had been more than enthusiastically prepared and had developed a black crust where the sugar had burnt along the back side of the meat. It wasn’t pleasant but no sooner had we raised our hands to point out the issue, then the staff had whipped it away and replaced it with four newly smothered samples. These were back up to scratch and lovely with soft chewy meat and plenty of it. Personally I’ve always found their BBQ sauce too sweet and one dimensional but that is a criticism that I can lay at the feet of most places serving commercial BBQ sauce in the UK so until they agree to stock my own brand of BBQ sauce they are at least on par with everyone else there.
For puds we enjoyed a Baileys and white chocolate cheesecake while The Child feasted on a banana split. I say feasted because it started life as a health conscious banana option which I almost approved of but by the time she had finished adding the sprinkles and ‘optional’ extras we had bypassed health avenue in favour of a drive down sugar street high fiving every hundred and thousand on the way. Well there were some strawberries on there so I guess I’ll get over it but it’s melon and spinach for that girl for the rest of the week because that’s what good responsible Dads do, right?! The cheese cake was another very solid pud from the kitchen. The white chocolate wasn’t sickly or overpowering as the hit of the Baileys was just enough to keep the whole thing from becoming too much. I don’t usually enjoy such things but I had no trouble in helping Mrs P finishing this one off, much to her annoyance.
We were invited to Middletons and didn’t pay for dinner but a quick squint at the menu says that we would have hit £45ish plus drinks for that little lot. I have to say once again that you do get your value from Middletons. It’s never going to set the world on fire but it’s a lovely place with friendly staff, the steaks are excellent and the kid’s menu is one of the best in the city. I thought I knew what we were going to get and I wasn’t disappointed, good job Middletons!