A Hayes takeaway where mouse poo was not cleared up months after being pointed out by food safety officers has reopened under new management.
Chef's Corner in Hayes, now known as New Chef's Corner, has been renovated and former staff members have been fired over the conditions, which led to nearly £20,000 in fines.
getwestlondon was allowed unrestricted access to the kitchen and store rooms at the Dawley Road restaurant, which has now been rewarded with a provisional three-star rating by the Food Standards Authority.
Neel Pounj, a 22-year-old business management graduate, has taken over the business from his father, 65-year-old Nirmal Pounj, who ran the restaurant since 1994.
Nirmal Pounj told getwestlondon that in early 2017, when the first negative inspection was carried out, he had been taken seriously ill for several months, and had to rely on unqualified staff members to run his takeaway.
Inspectors found mouse droppings on the kitchen floor, storage areas and surfaces and staff were not washing their hands before handling customers' food.
They also found food being stored in freezers that were not switched on.
A food safety rating of zero was issued but staff did not change their behaviours, and Mr Pounj and his company Actmore Ltd were taken to Uxbridge Magistrates' Court in August.
The company was fined £12,000, Mr Pounj was fined £5,200 and they were jointly ordered to pay costs of £2,318.
Now Neel, who has taken over the running of the restaurant under new company Shylu Ltd, has changed everything but the menu.
A rear storage outbuilding has been cleared and no equipment is being stored in the yard behind the restaurant.
Inside the kitchen, new staff are cooking the food to order for customers, using fresh ingredients and brand new equipment.
getwestlondon did not see any evidence of unhygienic food practice while at the restaurant and surfaces, floors and walls were all clean to the touch.
"This is a family establishment and our customers are also families," said Nirmal Pounj.
"There are guys who used to come buy chips from me after school in the early days and now they are coming in with their kids.
"We always wanted to build this as a place for the community, which is why we never allowed gambling arcade machines in the takeaway like most other places around here."
Neel said he is looking forward to restoring his father's legacy and rebuilding the business to its former glory.
"The most unique things about Chef's Corner is that its always always fresh," said Neel, who was not born when his father opened the business.
"Everything is cooked fresh to order in front of the customers. If you walk in, your order will be prepared in front of you.
"The customer always comes first."
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