Sitting down to a full lunch – rather than just a passing snack or a quick burger, for instance – in a shopping centre lays down a troublesome proposition. They’re noisy, far from relaxing, and conjuring up a divide between handbags and pasta isn’t the easiest thing to do.

Still, intu Bromley’s new Carluccio’s manages pretty well. Although large chunks of the surrounding walls don’t block out shoppers’ purchases of lipstick and shoes, it’s a nice little space of Italian restaurant, creating a calmer spot amid a busy spending spree.

A bowl of olives and a couple of glasses of wine helped the transition along on Saturday (Aug 30), and plenty more were doing the same.  

Being the weekend, understandably, the minestrone soup was all out. It’s a good choice when trying somewhere new as an Italian that can’t do proper minestrone is not an Italian at all. But instead we had the mint and pea from the specials board. It was served cold and felt light and fresh; as did the goat’s cheese and tomato salad, speckled with drops of olive oil.

Then arrived a breaded veal chop with rocket, which was more interesting than regular veal that’s for sure – though I’m not sure if tastier – and a fillet of cod on minty braised lettuce with pancetta. It continued a very summery theme indeed, more so with the garlic green beans and battered vegetables alongside. It’s worth noting now that I’m not using the Italian names, because I’m not an Italian restaurant, but an English-speaking customer.

Rather than dessert we just tried the coffee; expectations high. There’s a choice between either stuff from Milan or Naples, differing in richness and depth, and both were good. It woke us up and boosted us enough to return into intu Bromley from our hour or so of Italy.

That’s what Carluccio’s does really – it's a nice addition to intu Bromley that gives people somewhere to go a little more exciting than ‘shopping cuisine’. It’s a bit pricier than a sandwich of course, but maybe just get the one pair of trainers.

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