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City restaurant fights back after low food hygiene rating

PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:41 12 February 2020

Spice Lounge has recently been awarded a 4 star food hygiene rating. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Spice Lounge has recently been awarded a 4 star food hygiene rating. Picture: Ruth Lawes

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A city centre restaurant is set to usher in a new era after overturning a low food hygiene rating and announcing a new menu.

Spice Lounge in Wensum Street have worked hard to turn their food hygiene rating around. Photo: Paul HewittSpice Lounge in Wensum Street have worked hard to turn their food hygiene rating around. Photo: Paul Hewitt

In December Spice Lounge on Wensum Street in Norwich was given a one-star food hygiene rating by Norwich City Council.

Inspectors criticised staff for not washing their hands regularly and listed 16 types of equipment or food-contact surfaces that were dirty and needed cleaning, including food storage containers and a can opener.

But following a recent re-inspection, the restaurant and takeaway, which serves Indian and Bangladeshi food, was awarded four stars.

MORE: Takeaway given zero food hygiene rating bounces back with new score

It came after owner Dana Miah, 52, and manager Towfiqur Rahman Lucky, 51, made sweeping changes to cleaning and re-trained staff.

They attributed the low rating to two staff members who were ill and off work, but said a new cleaning rota would ensure staff shortages and busy periods were accounted for.

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Mr Miah said: "We worked very hard after the last inspection for everybody from our customers to the inspectors. As soon as we got the advice from the last inspection we followed it to a tee and changes were made immediately the following day.

"The inspector even said she would have given us a five-star rating but they can't do that so soon after a lower rating."

Both Mr Miah and Mr Lucky have undertaken online food hygiene courses as well as staff.

And cleaning which they said took place frequently beforehand was now constant and a top priority.

Mr Lucky said: "The inspector was surprised at how spotless it was and said we did far more than expected."

The next change for the restaurant is a revamped menu with eight new dishes which will roll out from March.

Mr Lucky said: "I can't give exact details on the new dishes yet - you will have to wait and see. But we are very popular in the city, I may be biased but I think we do the best food in the city.

"I find it very difficult to single out one dish as the best but our speciality fish dishes are the most popular with customers."

Spice Lounge opened in Norwich in 2006 and was awarded a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence in 2019.

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