Since 2008, councils have published hygiene ratings of local businesses on the internet. The FSA says that zero-starred premises are likely to have a history of serious problems and are in need of urgent improvement, whereas one star signifies that a major improvement is necessary. The importance of these ratings is contested, with some describing them as “petty”, but many customers take them seriously – after all who wants food cooked in a dirty kitchen? With this in mind, Charlie Hyams and Michael Goodier take a look at some of their favourite 0 and 1 starred restaurants.
All of the information in this article was correct at the time of publishing (June 25th 2014). For updated information visit Scores On The Doors’ website
Sichuan Garden (Queen’s Road) – 1
Situated minutes away from Brighton station, here is one place you don’t want to pop into before a long journey. Chicken in black bean sauce? Perhaps they’re just using that to cover up the dirt. There are so many great Chinese restaurants in Brighton. Don’t go to Sichuan. CH
Golden Grill (Western Road) – 0 *
To get a score of zero means you basically have no hygiene. The Golden Grill in Portslade has a 1 star, but the Western Road one has even less than that. In the Hygiene Olympics their medal would be anything but gold – perhaps an off beige or a pigeon yellow. CH
Brighton Steiner School (Roedean Road)- 1
Steiner Schools are perhaps best known in this country for teaching kids a warped version of the curriculum, promoting homeopathy among other things. It seems here that an anti science agenda isn’t the only unproductive thing they’re feeding their kids, with the Brighton school receiving a paltry score of 1 (major improvement necessary) in their food hygiene rating. But that’s okay because they can cure any poisoning with a glass of tap water. MG
Dos Sombreros (Ship Street) – 1
I’m very conflicted over the inclusion of this outlet due to the fact that Dos Sombreros may be the only tasty, authentic Mexican restaurant in Brighton. With that aside there are many other places that you’ll be better off visiting. With a 1 star rating there is guaca-no-way you want to risk going here. Andale! Andale! CH
The Old Bank (St George’s Road) – 1
I wouldn’t bank on a hygienic meal from Kemptown’s renowned Old Bank. They may be famous for their tasty steaks, but it is rare that their cleaning is ever well done (haha). MG
Kebab Nite (London Road) – 1
Deliberate spelling mistakes in the titles of business names was so 2006. Good hygiene however, is still something that should remain current. Kebab Nite purportedly have “the best kebabs in Brighton”, yet have a measly 2.5/6 rating on Just Eat and a score of 1 from the FSA. Perhaps give that greasy donner a miss. MG
Aumthong Thai Restaurant (Western Road) – 0
The business operator insists that “The establishment has been thoroughly cleaned and procedures are in place to ensure that cleanliness is maintained”. However, Aumthong Thai’s score of zero indicates that their kitchen might not be very Thai-dy after all. MG
Indian Kitchen (Church Road) – 0
Indian food is known globally for its fragrance, spice and aromatic flavours, and Brighton is lucky to have an abundance of restaurants which serve just that. Indian Kitchen on Church Road unfortunately is not one of them. With a 0 star hygeine rating there is only one outcome after a visit here. Indaloo. CH
Sushi Garden (Preston Street) – 1
Raw fish is perhaps one of the worst things you’d want from a kitchen with poor hygiene. So I’d give the 1 starred Sushi Garden on Preston Street a miss unless you want to risk some salmonella with your salmon (Ella). MG
All in all, Brighton has a good reputation for food hygiene, with over half of the city’s food outlets having a five star rating, and only five outlets scoring a zero. However, if you’re worried, you can always look your local eatery’s score up on the Scores on the Doors website, which is where we found out about these places. Hopefully their food won’t be as bad as our puns.
• *Update: The owner of Golden Grill has contacted us, and insisted that the hygiene rating hasn’t been updated since he took over. He said “The Golden Grill is up to code and we are waiting for an approval date for a final inspection where a new rating will be published. The business is currently undergoing a lengthy refurbishment and new management is being established”. The restaurant was last checked on the 26th of March, only three months ago.
It is worth noting that the FSA website states that “a business may ask its local authority for a visit to be carried out before the next planned inspection is due. This is where the business was given a rating below the top one of ‘5’ but has since made improvements to hygiene standards. This means the food safety officer can check the improvements have been made and see if a new rating should be given”. It seems Golden Grill may fit into this category, and is waiting for a re-inspection to change their current rating of zero.