- EXCLUSIVE: East London’s Leytonstone High Road has 19 zero-star places to eat
One of Britain’s dodgiest streets for eating out has been revealed.
A whopping 19 takeaways, restaurants and pubs have zero-star ratings on Leytonstone High Road, east London.
None of them display their actual rating, but some show four-star ratings in their windows – even though their current rank is nowhere near that and some of the inspections took place more than a year ago.
Many of the owners claim a rogue inspector stitched them up but locals tell a different story.
Passers-by told MailOnline they were ‘not surprised’ to learn so many food spots in the area had given abysmal zero-star ratings, which mean ‘urgent improvement is necessary’.
Zero-star Butt Kebabish Grill was busy when MailOnline reporters visited. The store is one of 19 on Leytonstone High Road with a zero-star rating
The owners handled burger buns with their bare hands and the tongs were left in food. Pictured: A burger and chips from Butt Kebabish
Many of the owners claim a rogue inspector stitched them up by but locals tell a different story
Passers-by told MailOnline they were ‘not surprised’ to learn so many food spots in the area had given abysmal zero-star ratings, which mean ‘urgent improvement is necessary’. Pictured: A pizza from zero-star USA Chicken & Pizza
A food hygiene rating of zero indicates that urgent improvement at the food spot is necessary
None of the 19 stores displayed their actual rating, but some show four-star ratings in their windows – even though their current rank is nowhere near that and some of the inspections took place more than a year ago. Pictured: Butt Kebabish’s inaccurate four-star rating
Leytonstone resident Yacine said restaurant staff often don’t wash their hands after they walk in from the street.
He said: ‘I don’t have so many takeaways, I didn’t know about the ratings, but I would think twice before I go.
‘Some stuff I think needs some training. You see some staff without aprons or going in without washing their hands. That stops me from going in.’
Another local, who lives in Wanstead, said she tries not to eat eat in Leytonstone.
She said: ‘There’s quite a lot of dodgy-looking places. That’s why we don’t really eat around here.’
Zero-star Butt Kebabish Grill was busy when MailOnline reporters visited.
The owners handled burger buns with their bare hands and the tongs were left in food.
Nearby off-licence Premier Express also has a zero-star rating.
Leytonstone resident Sashan Nazir, 29, works in housekeeping at the five-star Hyatt Regency hotel.
He said: ‘[At Butt Kebabish Grill], there was an issue with the hygiene, rats and stuff.
‘This place got shut down for a long time.
‘[At Premier Express, the owner] used to keep all his beers in his washroom, but there was an inspection later on and it was closed.
Tambir Hussein (pictured) is the owner of Baraka Halal Butcher, which also has a zero-star rating
His shop sells poultry, fis, frozen goods and groceries as well as fresh Halal meat
Nearby off-licence Premier Express also has a zero-star rating. It allegedly received the rating after it was discovered the owner kept beers in his bathroom that he later sold
Leytonstone resident Yacine said restaurant staff often don’t wash their hands after they walk in from the street
‘They’ve had some issues, but now it’s better.’
He added: ‘When the roads are closed people leave rubbish on the street but as soon as it’s the morning everything is clean.
‘Most of the restaurants are very good, they try to keep their best with hygiene.’
Vasili Berciun runs one of the food shops on the street with a zero-star rating.
He received the lowest rank for not displaying an allergy warning poster in his store.
Around two million people in the UK have food allergies. Deaths from anaphylaxis because of food allergies are rare, but hospital admissions in the UK have tripled in the last 20 years.
Mr Berciun slammed his rating and the inspection as ‘bureaucratic’ and questioned why the inspector called him out for the poster rather than focusing on his food’s hygiene.
He said: ‘Yes, maybe it is important, but it’s not hygiene.
‘He didn’t say anything about the kitchen, he was talking to me about some paper.’
The A4 paper reads ‘Food Allergy or Intolerance?’ and prompts customers to discuss the issues with a member of staff.
After the meeting, he printed the missing poster in five minutes but says he will now have to pay £150 for another inspection.
Mr Berciun said: ‘It’s bureaucratic.
‘It’s Food Hygiene Rating. Hygiene, that’s the most important thing. All our workers have level two safety, all our food is stored right inside the fridge, but they didn’t check that.
‘This report is not about the hygiene, it’s about the fines – little bits, small things, this is why I have zero.
‘I know why they do that, they want me to print this bit of paper, put this [on the wall in the restaurant] and call them to come another time.
‘But to call them to come on a second day costs you money.
Many of the zero-star shops rank highly on Google reviews.
Patamsothy Jeyaparman, 40, has run Kenssy Fried Chicken for five years.
He said he was only ever been handed three, four or five-star ratings before he suddenly received zero.
Patamsothy Jeyaparman, 40, (pictured) has run Kenssy Fried Chicken for five years
He said he was only ever been handed three, four or five-star ratings before he suddenly received zero
Mr Jeyaparman said he was penalised for keeping cooked burgers outside of the kitchen for a few minutes as he transported them to the fridge, keeping rubbish bags on the floor rather in bine, having a broken floor and not having hot water in the bathroom. Pictured: Some of his zero-star food
Even though his store has a zero-star rating, a four-star one was displayed on his shop window. He said the zero-star one had not yet arrived
Inspections on the street were conducted between September 2022 and July this year
The shop owner, who also works part time in Tesco’s twice a week, said he does not want to arrange another inspection because it will cost him £300 for them to visit twice.
Waltham Forest Council, which oversees the Leytonstone area, said on its website it charges £294 for a second visit.
Mr Jeyaparman said he was penalised for keeping cooked burgers outside of the kitchen for a few minutes as he transported them to the fridge, keeping rubbish bags on the floor rather in bine, having a broken floor and not having hot water in the bathroom.
A four-star rating was displayed on his shop window. He said a zero-star one had not yet arrived.
Inspections on the street were conducted between September 2022 and July this year.
Best Shaorma House is also on the street and has a zero-star rating
The Hungry Cow is another food joint that has a zero-star rating on the street
Panda Dim Sum joins the other 18 food spots on the High Road as having a zero-star rating
Gospodina is a Romanian food shop and also has a zero-star food hygiene rating
One local said: ‘When the roads are closed people leave rubbish on the street but as soon as it’s the morning everything is clean’
Mr Jeyaparman’s report sheets reveal he scored 15 out of 25 for hygiene, 20 out of 25 for ‘condition of structure’ and 30 out of 30 for how he managed his documents.
He blamed the inspector for the poor rating.
He said: ‘The officers coming [before], they gave me four or five stars. First time, five stars.
‘Then one of the ladies, she gave zero, zero, zero all the time. She’s not happy.
‘My shop is a clean shop. People are happy. A lot of people go on Google and write that they are happy, never food poisoning.
‘The lady, she comes, all the time [finding] small, small things. Another shop she closed down, only the lady has a problem.
‘It will affect my business, I’m going to have to pay £300 to make them come back.’
Tambi Hussein, 45, is another owner who runs a zero-star food spot – Baraka Halal Butcher.
Hainault Road Supermarket is another shop with a zero-star hygiene rating
Eastern European food store Rustic Shop, also on the same street, has a zero-star rating
Flavaz Grill and Kitchen has a zero-star hygiene rating
MailOnline reporters tried two chicken wraps from zero-star Flavaz Grill and Kitchen
He has run the business for around six months and said he was given zero stars without an inspector even checking the store.
The 45-year-old from Aldgate, near Whitechapel, said he had no idea why he was given a zero and that he would not put the green sticker on the door, adding it affected business.
The butcher claimed the inspector said he would call about conducting a full investigation but never did.
He said: ‘We need to be ready for the hygiene rating. He said he will come but we will be charged a lot of money.
‘I called him and I said if he would come for a cheaper rate then I would be happy with that, but he didn’t call me again.
‘He told me he would contact me again, but he didn’t. He told me it would cost around £147.
M. Tariq Food Store is yet another shop with a zero-star rating on the same street
Civil servant Kamara Ferdinand, 32, from Stratford, who frequently goes to SoulFood Farmacy, said she was shocked to hear the shop had a zero-star rating
The Red Lion not only has a generic name for a pub but also boasts a zero-star hygiene rating
The Plough & Harrow is another pub on the street with a zero-star food hygiene rating
‘I don’t see how you can give me the hygiene rating without seeing [the shop] or speaking.
‘It’s a little bit [of a] worry.’
Not all locals felt the same way about the food. Some were surprised the ratings were so low up and down the street.
Civil servant Kamara Ferdinand, 32, from Stratford, who frequently goes to SoulFood Farmacy, said she was shocked to hear the shop had a zero-star rating.
She said: ‘It’s really nice in there. ‘He’s lovely and friendly, and it’s clean in there, I don’t know why he’d get a bad rating.
‘I wouldn’t say that I know of this place to be like that. Maybe some places [up the street], they just look dirty, there’s rubbish outside and stuff.
‘It’s clean in there, honestly. I don’t believe it, he’s such a nice guy.’
MailOnline contacted Waltham Forest Council for comment.
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