IN these economically challenging times, it’s refreshing to see a business opening its doors rather than closing.

Caffe Latte is also a welcome change to the all-too-common coffee chains dominating high streets up and down the country.

Checking online, it is a franchise, but there are only a handful of branches and the Blackburn one has the feel of a more local, cosy venue than its multi-national cousins.

We’d popped in for lunch but the lure of the pretty multi-coloured angel cake and crumbly-topped apple and blackberry cakes made the trip more of a treat – as did a sunny spot on the small terrace out front.

Our sandwiches were well-filled; with tuna mayo on white and chicken tikka and red onion in a panini. The dressed salad side serving was a nice touch but a little sparse. Although £4.95 I felt was steep for the panini, and it seemed to take quite a while for them to be served.

A freshly-squeezed orange juice machine was as appealing as the cakes, and was a winner for my colleague. The cool frappucino I had was refreshing but a bit milkshake-like for my taste and lacked coffee kick.

The cakes really were worth the trip though; huge slices of moist sponges kept the pair of us – renowned chatterboxes – quiet for several minutes, barring ‘yummy’ nods.

The apple and blackberry had a custardy filling as well as the jam, and in delicate pastel shades the angel cake tasted as good as it looked.

Al fresco eating options in Blackburn are few and far between, and this spot offers a great people watching opportunity as you tuck in. While not the prettiest of settings, the modern ‘town square’ atmosphere makes it better than some other choices.