FIRST things first: A Mano looks stunning. This smart Italian is the perfect place for a business lunch or a dinner date. You couldn’t fail to impress here.

Bright, clean and modern, a sprawling glass structure, plenty of white emulsion, hardwood floors – you get the picture.

A Mano has the look and feel of a high-end restaurant which would not look out of place in say Manchester’s Spinningfields.

The flagship restaurant for Cathedral Square, if not, the whole of Blackburn, it opened late 2017 as the development took shape.

I like Cathedral Square, don’t get me wrong, it looks cool and sophisticated – and as a first impression of the town for someone fresh off the train, it works well. But I wonder sometimes, is it just a little bit too clean and clinical? Where’s the heart? An office block, a hotel and a chain restaurant in Turtle Bay all seem a bit corporate, next to a place of worship. It’s a bit incongruous.

And A Mano, sitting as it does, underneath that office block, is similarly clinical.

It has a refreshingly simple menu - pizza, pasta, risotto, six mains and a few specials. Some choice but not so much that it’s confusing or you can’t make your mind up.

There’s a separate one-course lunch menu – pizza or pasta for just shy of £6; or you can pick two courses from the main menu – i.e. a starter then a pizza or pasta for a very reasonable £12.

It’s not always tempting to go off piste at an Italian – we tend to stick to what we know – but A Mano has a nice selection of mains, the pick of which I’d say are pork gorgonzola, cod and mussels, and seabass with prawns and spuds.

I had the fegatini venetziana – chicken livers with bacon, chilli and garlic in red wine – to start. The gravy is rich and salty, and the dish comes to life when you get a nice chunk of bacon on your spoon. No need for the salad garnish, but the crusty loaf with a herb butter is a bonus.

The spaghetti alfredo – chicken, mushrooms, peas, cream and parmesan – is fine, too. Peas in a pasta sauce are underrated, it doesn’t happen enough for my money.

Service was good. I was dining solo and no one made a fuss. It’s always a bit awkward when you ask for a table for one, but it shouldn’t be.

Your waiting staff should behave as if it is the most natural thing in the world, and I’m pleased to say A Mano passed that particular test.

It’s tempting to compare A Mano to Pizza Express – and there are similarities. The food is consistent – I’ve been to this place a few times now and it’s always been good. I’m never blown away but never disappointed either.

The look and feel of the place is not too far off that ubiquitous chain, too. But the comparison is not really a compliment is it? Let’s say it’s like a luxury Pizza Express, then. Hopefully, you get the gist.

A Mano may be a bit clinical – but it’s still one of the best places to eat in town. It’s just what the doctor ordered. Bookings: 01254 447234