CAFES in shopping centres are always a bit of a gamble and invariably tend to be a bit on the pricey side.

In a unit situated on one of the main squares within Blackburn’s shopping mecca, the Country Larder will certainly disappoint those in search of a little rustic homeliness among all the bright lights.

With Girls Aloud and Rihanna as a musical accompaniment and regulation faux-designer chairs and tables, it’s all very urban really.

The menu is pretty standard shopping centre cafe fare, with jacket potatoes, sandwiches and toasties, plus a few main meals and a selection of drinks.

The array of cakes and pastries looked tempting but, as it was lunchtime, I went for the trusted cheese and ham toastie and a small cappuccino.

I thought £7.20 for my lunch was a bit steep — more so when the toastie arrived.

I don’t know about you but I expect a toastie to be sealed. What I actually got was two pieces of toast with a slice of ham and a bit of melted cheese that went all over the place when I cut into it. The description of a fresh house salad also proved a little ambitious — one lettuce leaf the size of a child’s hand, two slices of tomato and a bit of onion aren’t what I’d call a fresh house salad.

Oh, and there was also a dollop of coleslaw too.

On the plus side, the staff were very friendly and cheery, even though it was a bitterly cold day.

Even though it was lunchtime, it wasn’t overly-busy.

Perhaps people like me had sampled the place once but decided not to return until the prices come down and the menu is given a tweak.

Perhaps I should have stuck to the yummy-looking cakes.


  • Food: 6
  • Drink: 7
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 5
  • Value: 6