Restaurant rating ‘D’ for dire

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An Asian restaurant in Queenstown’s been given the dreaded ‘D’ grading after an inspection found a raft of issues – including tea towels used to clean both tables and plates.

Memories of Hong Kong, located in The Mall, was inspected at the end of June, when inspectors raised concerns about an apparent lack of training around food safety practices, cooking temperatures, and dead paua being stored in tanks with live shellfish.

Chipped and cracked crockery was found, “which may lead to physical contamination of the food”, and some food was stored uncovered.

Tea towels used to clean tables were also used to “clean plates of food (the edges)”, the inspection report states.

The last invoice for pest control was dated September 2016.

Mountain Scene spoke to Memories of Hong Kong manager Alex Luo on Tuesday.

He says staff have upped their game and improved paperwork and record keeping.

That includes keeping records of complaints, such as two shown to Scene by Luo about chicken being left outside the shop on the street for more than four hours.

He says the restaurant was re-inspected last week, and he believes its rating will be upped to a ‘B’. As of Tuesday, the council’s website still showed a ‘D’ rating.

It’s one of only two food businesses in the Queenstown Lakes District to have a ‘D’ rating, with the other being Pop Puff in Wanaka.

A ‘D’ rating means ‘poor’, and a business may face closure. A ‘C’ rating means ‘adequate’.

According to the council’s website, 13 restaurants in the district have a ‘C’ rating, 126 have a ‘B’, and 391 have an ‘A’.

Hospitality NZ Central Otago branch boss Chris Buckley says the ‘C’ and ‘D’ ratings are “disappointing”, but it’s “encouraging to see that there is only a small percentage of these lower ratings”.

“This district has many outstanding venues and it is important to the owners of these that visitors have a safe and pleasant experience.

“If venues are been rated ‘C’ or lower, I would expect they would want to look at their systems and get them up to scratch quickly.

“It is unfortunate that the ratings are based mainly on record-keeping rather than the main emphasis, which is on clean, well-maintained venues with good hygiene practices.”

NOTE: The print version of this story has a side-bar of C-grade restaurants. It includes The Stables Cafe & Restaurant in Arrowtown. It has been revamped under new management and this week was upgraded to an A-grade, which means ‘excellent’.

daisy.hudson@scene.co.nz