‘Everything has changed’ - Sidmouth restaurant owner vows to overturn zero food hygiene rating

The Cinnamon Tree in Sidmouth. Picture: Clarissa Place

The Cinnamon Tree in Sidmouth. Picture: Clarissa Place - Credit: Archant

The owner of a long-standing Indian restaurant says ‘everything has changed’ since it landed a low hygiene rating from inspectors.

An inspector from East Devon District Council's hygiene team visited The Cinnamon Tree on September 4 and rated the curry house 'zero', ordering 'urgent improvements'.

Restaurants, pubs and hotels - as well as cafes, takeaways and other places that sell or serve food - are rated from zero to five on their hygiene standards.

The inspector reported finding black mould on chopping boards, evidence of rats, dirty aprons and that a deep clean is required of the kitchen and food store.

Kazi Ahmed has run the restaurant in Radway Place since it opened in 2006 and said the business has never been rated below a four. He wanted to assure customers changes have been made since the latest rating.

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With regards to rats, he said there are none, and that the restaurant has had visits from Rentokill every six weeks since it opened to carry out pest control management.

While carrying out checks, the inspector found there was no hot water and a plumber arrived during the inspection.

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Mr Ahmed said the business made changes within days.

He said: "We have never come below a four. It was hard for me. We have never had that low a rating.

"I'm not disagreeing with the report but what I would like to say - it's done. Everything has been done. We are going to apply for a revisit and I hope it will be a four or a five.

"All the chopping boards have been changed. There were cutting marks, you cannot throw them out every week and you are cutting with sharp knifes and we cleaned them."

He said he would be applying to the hygiene team for a revisit.

The inspector's summary found deep cleaning was required due to the condition of the kitchen fridges, walls and floor joints, as well as a hole in the ceiling which needed to be repaired and cleaned.

The inspector found documentation was out of date and 'no evidence' of chefs being instructed in food hygiene and there was no allergen information.

Mr Ahmed said during the inspectors visit new electrical fittings were being installed, which was the cause for the holes in walls and the ceiling. He said certification was up to date in hygiene, fire safety and gas.

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