A SCOTS restaurant praised by Gordon Ramsay was slammed by health inspectors after they found rodent droppings.
The restaurant was the only Scottish eaterie to feature in the 2009 series of Ramsay’s show The F Word, which searches for the best local restaurant in Britain.
But it has emerged that inspectors failed the restaurant last summer after discovering “large quantities of mouse droppings”, as well as dirt, grease and food debris in the kitchen.
A report on the restaurant in Haymarket, Edinburgh, stated: “The food hygiene standards at the time of my inspection were very poor, with a lack of pest control and poor staff training”.
It added that a lack of improvement could result in the restaurant being prosecuted.
Chop Chop’s manager Roy King today admitted the restaurant had had problems but that at a repeat visit inspectors had been pleased with cleanliness levels.
He said: “I welcome these inspections and they do a good job. People need to be held to standards and there were improvements which we had to make, but the inspection was eight months ago and that is a long time to put these things right. I am a great believer in keeping standards high and that is what we are doing.”
He continued: “We have had changes in personnel, we had a new manager, he’d only been there six weeks. I’m not making excuses but there can be a day standards have dropped.”
He added that the mice droppings had never entered public areas or food preparation areas of the restaurant.
He said: “The droppings were in a back storeroom which had not been emptied or cleared properly.
“Chop Chop Haymarket is located in a 19th century building close to the city centre. Pest control is always a challenge in older properties and despite seven routine visits from our pest control company during 2011 prior to the inspector’s visit, we were not on top of the situation at the time of the visit.
“This problem has now been resolved by retraining staff and doubling our application to this issue.
“We’ve not had any complaints from the public or cases of food poisoning. The restaurant is six years old and we’ve never had a single case.”
The restaurant was just one of 170 cafes, restaurants and takeaways in the city which failed hygiene inspections last year.
Many were found to be crawling with rodents and insects, while others failed due to a lack of handwashing and food safety measures.
And nine eateries are due to face court action over disgusting conditions.
Astonished inspectors were confronted by a range of disgusting conditions, including finding cooked rice being kept warm in a bath, raw sewage leaking into a restaurant cellar and toilet facilities for chefs which lacked anywhere for washing hands.
Inspectors also discovered food being served up that was months out of date.
Council bosses said inspection reports should frighten businesses into maintaining high standards.
Councillor Robert Aldridge, the environment leader at Edinburgh council, said: “These cases send a strong message to all food businesses operators in the city that we will not hesitate to take immediate action in order to safeguard the health and well being of Edinburgh residents and visitors.”