DEBENHAMS CAFE Blackburn WHEN we first reviewed several months ago it was in the first week of re-opening after the town centre department store had been given a multi-million pound makeover.

It’s fair to say we were a little lukewarm about it but said it was early days and it did show some promise.

So has it improved with time or gone downhill?

A good test of any establishment is to visit at one of its busiest periods. In the case of a store cafe, that would be a Saturday lunchtime.

And here’s the first good sign - a senior member of staff was on duty sorting out the seating arrangements even before you placed your order - would that other places did the same.

Choices ranged from a series of substantial mains to snacks and sandwiches.

A steaming cauldron tempted me to try the intriguing, if gimicky-sounding, Christmas soup while the better half opted for a jacket potato with cheese.

At £4.35 I initially thought the soup was overly priced, but given the size of the bowl and the still warn fresh roll that accompanied it I changed my mind.

Christmas soup Debenhams’ style is basically a very tasy vegetable soup with added bits of chicken and a few cranberries added. It might sound dubious but on a cold day it was a real treat.

The jacket potatoes appear to have improved since the last visit with plenty of fillling and a nice accompanying salad and £4.39 is about the going rate.

With any store cafe you do feel a little exposed as you eat but they have tried to cordon diners off from the shoppers.

And as for offering a place of refuge from shopping it’s certainly more than up to the task.