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Revealed: How clean is your favourite restaurant in Norfolk?

14:52 07 March 2016

The Merge Bar and Restaurant, Dereham Road, Norwich, was one of the establishments which received the lowest possible score in the food hygiene ratings. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Merge Bar and Restaurant, Dereham Road, Norwich, was one of the establishments which received the lowest possible score in the food hygiene ratings. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Explore our interactive map to find out the latest food hygiene ratings for Norfolk’s restaurants, cafés and takeaways which have been inspected in the last six months.

Key:

Dark green = 5 - very good

Light green = 4 - good

Yellow = 3 - generally satisfactory

Norfolk’s ‘zero rated’ establishments for food hygiene

•South Norfolk - The Cherry Tree, High Street, Wicklewood. September 2015.

•Norwich - Ali Andos, Unthank Road. November 2015. Merge bar and restaurant, Dereham Road, Norwich. September 2015.

•Great Yarmouth - Energy Chinese Buffet, Marine Parade. August 2015. Hollywood Diner, Beach Road, Hemsby. September 2015. Sea Chef, Britannia Pier. August 2015. The Alexandra Restaurant, Regent Road. June 2015. The Columbia Taverna, Crown Road. October 2015. The Old Manor Café, Manor Road, Caister-on-Sea. July 2015. Filby Post Office Stores, Main Road, Filby. November 2015. Palmers, Market Place. February 2016. Bar-B-Que House, King Street. July 2015. Hemsby Kebab, Beach Road, Hemsby. December 2015. Mandarin, Bells Road, Gorleston. September 2015. Spicy Papadum, Tan Lane, Caister. December 2015. The Food Palace, Beach Road, Hemsby. September 2015. Top Gem, St Peter’s Road. November 2015. USA Chicken, St Peter’s Road. August 2015 and Youngs Chinese Takeaway, Bell Lane, Belton. November 2015.

•Waveney - Aphrodite, The Esplanande. July 2015. Flying Dutchman, Beccles Road. November 2015. New Shanghai, Love Road. August 2015. and Pearl Chinese, Church Road, Kessingland. July 2015.

•North Norfolk - Coast Kebab, New Street, Cromer. February 2016.

•Kings Lynn & West Norfolk - Kebabland, Wootton Road, Gaywood. December 2015.

Light orange = 2 - improvement necessary

Dark orange = 1 - major improvement necessary

Red = 0 - urgent improvement necessary

The region’s restaurants, cafés and takeaways are cleaning up their act in terms of food hygiene, an investigation has found.

Six months on from our special report which found that almost one in 10 food places in Norfolk and Waveney were failing to meet standards, analysis of the latest ratings shows the picture has improved.

However, council chiefs said today more work needed to still be done to ensure the public could be satisfied that wherever they 
choose to eat is meeting expected standards.

Since June 2015, more than 3,000 food places have been assessed by council hygiene inspectors and given a rating out of five.

Some 7pc were found to be non-compliant, which means they were rated two or below.

That figure was an improvement of 2pc when compared to the first six months of 2015 and was a 1pc improvement on the national average.

However, since last June, 25 eateries in the region scored a zero out of five from food hygiene inspectors – with 16 of those in Great Yarmouth alone.

Such places are given a certain amount of time to clean up their act and could face prosecution if the breaches are deemed serious enough.

One in 10 eateries in the Yarmouth area do not meet the required level set by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), a problem acknowledged by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Councillor Carl Smith said: “Great Yarmouth has a unique problem in that we have a significant number of seasonal short term businesses with a high turnover of owners.

“This causes difficulties in ensuring sustained improvement. Often the benefits of this work is lost when a business closes and does not trade again the following year.”

In Norwich, eateries improved their compliance by 6pc, with only two restaurants receiving a score of zero.

One of the places that received the lowest possible score was Merge Bar and restaurant, an all-you-can-eat Asian buffet on Dereham Road.

Among the contraventions of food hygiene standards recorded against the restaurant were:

• Pigeons had access to the restaurant and were found to be roosting in the roof, with evidence of feathers and droppings also found.

• Both flies and fruit flies were seen in the store rooms and around the bar at the premises.

• Food was not being disposed of properly, with flies and maggots evident in an open black bin liner.

Merge was repeatedly called for comment but did not return our calls.

Ali Andos, on Unthank Road in Norwich, which recorded a zero last November, has since made dramatic improvements to its hygiene according to new owner Ali Bari.

Mr Bari said: “There were a few little things that weren’t done, so they gave me all the details on everything and I managed to fix everything within a week.

“I’ve since had a meeting with the council to outline what we’ve done and they’re coming back this month to re-score.”

Mr Bari said he believes food hygiene is a crucial aspect of operating a food business.

“Of course, my customers deserve good hygiene, it’s very important,” he said. “I have an open-plan kitchen and I cook in front of them. I have nothing to hide.”

Norwich city councillor Keith Driver, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “It is clear that businesses are taking food safety seriously, but we know that there is always room for improvement.”

The most improved performer of the eight councils assessed was Broadland, which saw a 9pc increase in compliance.

A spokesman for Broadland District Council said: “We are delighted that our hard work with businesses in the past year has borne fruit and more of them are doing very well.”

Apart from Great Yarmouth’s decline, only North Norfolk and Breckland councils saw the number of not-compliant businesses slightly increase.

According to the FSA, the food hygiene rating scheme gives residents the chance to make an informed choice about where they eat.

A spokeswoman said: “We know from our research that the scheme is working – increasing numbers of people are using the online ratings database to make choices about where to eat and it is driving up hygiene standards in food businesses.”

24 comments

  • Where food hygiene and public health is concerned I would suggest one strike and you're out!

    Report this comment

    DWW25

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • We were actually in Palmers on the day the inspection took place, I could see them through the opening to the kitchen and then they came out into the cafe and looked at the food area there, lots of talking and pointing going on.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

  • A very disproportionate number of kebab shops and oriental takeaways are listed here. Why is that? I also notice many omissions of establishments of all kinds which are trading but not found on the map.

    Report this comment

    Steve Blake

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • Dr Zack, and your point is?

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • Stoneman where did you get your figures from, looking at the map there are only 11 red zero rated places in the areas covered by Great Yarmouth, broken down they are 2 Caistor, 2 Hemsby, 1 Filby, 1 Belton, 1 Gorleston and just 4 for Yarmouth, now where's the rest of them. Apart from 3 all the rest are all foreign takeaways, so poor excuse for not coming to Yarmouth.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • Remember folks that a 3 rating does not mean they have poor standards. The standards of food safety could be as high as in a 5 star but sometimes you get a lower rating due to limitations of the building itself. Many buildings didn't start off as eateries so often they can be marked down for having say toilets next to the the kitchen.

    Report this comment

    Resident Smith

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Please note the number of kebab establishments that were listed, not owned by the same people ????

    Report this comment

    dr.zack

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Why is it that when a eatery gets a yellow 3 rating (like The Red Lion at Kenninghall) they do not take it seriously and address the obvious lack of staff training of food preparation. The loyal locals can turn a blind eye only so many times....

    Report this comment

    Jiblian

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Don't attempt range in Norwich floor taped together toilets disgusting, advert says if we havn't got it you don't need it true is why I no longer shop at your store !

    Report this comment

    stebbie

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • No surprise that 16 out of 25 that scored zero came from Gt Yarmouth another reason I no longer frequent the place.

    Report this comment

    stoneman

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Sayitlikeitis - I know exactly how 'joe public' can be, I won't sit on any toilet seat, not even in a hospital unless I give it a good wipe all over first, there's a lot of misses even in the ladies and I have been told that the gents toilets anywhere are worse. I'm not talking about 'joe public' though, I'm talking about Palmers owners, have you been in their toilets, the first cubicle usually has one of the ceiling tiles open or off and the toilet seats in a couple of the other cubicles are too small for the pan, you think they would have at least decent seats and the cisterns and tops of the toilet roll holder covers are always covered in dust. The staff in Palmers cafe are really nice, but looking at the ceiling you'd think the owners would replace the stained ceiling tiles, it doesn't take much effort to replace a poylstyrene tile.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Apologies re. the shoelaces comment. Just one of those days or wrong side of bed situations.

    Report this comment

    Resident Smith

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • That's rather a spiteful comment to make about teaching how to do shoelaces up samphirelover. Not everyone has your skills, so be polite if you are going to help anyone, not the childish sarcasm. How do you know if the person has difficulties. It's people like you that stop others commenting for fear of being ridiculed.

    Report this comment

    JG

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Spooky i would just like to point out that Joe Public is mainly responsible for the way the "toilets" look, i worked in a huge non food establishment and you really wouldnt believe the state the toilets could be left in (im talking female toilets here but i also know the gents toilets have been left in some states) surely we are at least capable of cleaning up our own little accidents? Joe Public is responsible for a lot of things including the state public transport can be left in. As for the decor and health and hygiene that has to be down to the proprietormanager etc etc. The cleaning and restocking of the WC's is down to the cleaner.

    Report this comment

    Sayitlikeitis

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Some interesting results - but the map is not exhaustive - there are many places in Norwich I visit which are not listed, so I'm none the wiser. Hope you will update this map regularly, so we can see where improvements have been made. There's one gastropub in North Norfolk that has very good reviews on tripadvisor, with no reports of fatalities, but surprisingly low hygiene standards according to the map. So will keep an eye on that one !

    Report this comment

    Paula Varley

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • When we want to go out we check the Scores On The Doors, disappointingly many of the places we want to go are often NOT 4 or 5 so we opt to sacrifice experience for something safer. I do not want to hand over a days pay in the evening to and risk seeing it again in the bathroom next morning. Sometimes when you walk into a 3 or 4 it is not apparent how the restaurant achieved this accolade. I am led to believe that it is very easy to make level three and that four requires little effort beyond what you would do at home. If I ran a restaurant a score of four would be a call to redouble my procedures.

    Report this comment

    George Ezekial

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Also if you click on the 'square' in the top right hand corner you get a bigger map and at the left side of the map the area's are listed and you can close down the one's you don't want to look at.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Why are so many establishments missing ?

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • @samphirelover - You simply use the + and - symbol to zoom in and move around. Kind of how the web has been used for the past 20 years. Please hand in your PC user badge at the door. Tomorrow I shall give tips on how to ties one's shoelaces.

    Report this comment

    Resident Smith

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • samphirelover - zoom in and you can click on whatever circle you want to look at. It only gives you the name, what the business is, where it is and the rating and date of rating.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Who would have imagined that Palmers would get a zero, me actually, we stopped going in there a couple of years ago because the cups were filthy and sticky, they had bits of tea leaves and some other bits stuck on them, I sent an email to the manager about it and she came back with an offer of free tea, which I didn't take up. Last year we decided to give it another go and happy to say at the moment the cups are clean. Now if they would only sort out the state of the toilets, don't know what the men's is like but the ladies has open tiles on the ceiling, seats that don't fit and the cleaners don't clean the tops of the toilets or the toilet roll covers, there always covered in dust, then there's the tiles on the ceiling in the eating area that are water stained. For a department store that is supposed to be top notch, it's eating area is not. Very glad to see my favourite eatery still has 5 star rating - Market Row Kitchen. Suprised to see that Las Palmas is not listed, they need a push, although their probably up to standard, their sticky tables aren't, you can't put your arms on the table, they or your clothes stick to them, I don't know if it's the cleaning stuff they use but it's not nice.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • And how do we read These Reports? all I see is a mass of green dots all over Norfolk. Not very easy to pick out a particular restaurant or pub.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • And how do we read These Reports? all I see is a mass of green dots all over Norfolk. Not very easy to pick out a particular restaurant or pub.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • And how do we read These Reports? all I see is a mass of green dots all over Norfolk. Not very easy to pick out a particular restaurant or pub.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Monday, March 7, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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