I'll admit it - Marlow isn’t short of decent places to dine, with quality eateries vying for your booking at every turn.

The Chequers - a mainstay of the Marlow scene - has been one of those for some time now, with a real pub atmosphere mingling effortlessly with a bustling dining room pushing out solid gastropub food.

And, luckily, its recent overhaul hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bath water, and instead draws on what the pub does best while refining and smoothing the edges to offer a well-oiled and impressive culinary experience.

Regulars at the Chequers will notice that the ‘Butcher’s Block’ feature has been plonked front and centre, with owners Brakspear rightly focussing on the pub’s USP - its slabs of meat.

And so steaks dominate the menu, with staff inviting customers up to a newly-integrated counter to choose their cuts, pick the weight and see them sliced before being whisked off to the kitchen.

That the Hillbilly steak option has been replaced with the Parisian tells you everything you need to know about the changes implemented here, and is testament to its subtle refinement.

But before we got to all that, my girlfriend Tori and I got to grips with the starters while we took in the overhauled interior.

It has a rustic charm, with butcher’s shop-style tiles surrounding the steak station and delightful touches like a framed sack of spuds on the wall.

But you are constantly reminded that this is a pub - with the bustling murmur of the bar audible from the dining room and an open plan interior allowing for a flowing, seamless transition through to the classy dining room.

And so we ordered a portion of salt and pepper squid (£8) and a pork and duck liver pate with toast and apple chutney (£8).

Both were ample, tactfully presented and well executed, with the squid giving a portion of the same we ate recently at a well-known Asian Marlow eatery a run for its money.

But this was only ever going to be the prelude to what is obviously the menu’s raison d’etre.

Tori pushed the boat out and ordered a fillet steak (£10.50 per 100g), while I positively set sail and opted for the Chateaubriand (£10.50 per 100g) - the finest, thickest cut of fillet and the newest option on the board.

Seeing your steak hand selected and sliced could easily seem a needless novelty pantomime, but it carried a real sense of customer care, taking time, effort, and quite some risk as our hostess aimed to slice precisely the right weight of the expensive fillet.

And we weren’t disappointed when the plates arrived, with my medium rare chateaubriand exactly the right colour and consistency - that is, mind meltingly soft and tender, in case you were wondering.

Likewise, Tori’s medium fillet was pink in all the right places and delicious basted with the pub’s rich ‘secret recipe’ glaze.

And a hit rate of two from two proved the chefs knew their stuff, even amid a busy service full to the brim with diners when we visited.

The accompaniments couldn’t be faulted either, with crispy chunky chips, smooth, milky mash and rich creamed spinach adding to what felt a very luxurious experience for the price.

Steak sauces have been updated too - I ordered the Chimichurri (£2), and while the herby South American sauce provided an unusual zing, we preffered the classic (and unbeatable?) garlic butter (£2).

We joked as we ate about the long journey this pub has taken to culinary refinement, with Tori recalling her later teenage years spent dancing the night away in the same room when it was a late-night dancefloor and our table a DJ booth.

It feels like the Chequers has grown up alongside us, and having enjoyed an excellent, satisfying and refined meal as you’re likely to find in any Marlow gastropub, it seems to have well and truly come of age.