When I was growing up, on the rare occasion that I was at a shopping centre and needed lunch (I was part of the 1980s packed lunch or just-wait-til-you-get-home era) it was invariably a Marks and Spencer sandwich, and because people didn’t really have money to fritter away on things like that, even that was a real treat. So M&S roast chicken salad or ham, cheese and pickle were the top two choices and would make shopping with parents that bit more bearable.
Fast forward 10 years and the fast food chains all set up a presence in the shopping centres. So an M&S sandwich, became a quarter pounder with fries. Still a treat mind you. McDonalds became somewhere to hang out with friends and talk to boys so it definitely wasn’t a weekly occurrence.
However fast forward 20 years and shopping malls are almost unrecognisable. Not only are they a place for shopping but for some people they have become a dining destination in their own right. Some people just go to them for lunch!!
Take Bluewater for example – the range of restaurants available is huge and they are all mid to high-end of the high street eateries. On a recent visit, I walked past Jamie’s Italian, Wahaca, Brown’s, Wagamama’s, Carluccio’s and they are all absolutely heaving come 12.30.
So now thanks to this new generation of shopping malls with great restaurants, I can combine two of my passions in life, shopping and eating good food, all under one roof -this is surely heaven and well worth fighting for a parking space for?
Now we just need a champagne bar in the changing rooms….