Published: 15:42, 23 October 2020
| Updated: 15:44, 23 October 2020
An Indian restaurant has been hit with a one-star hygiene score after food safety inspectors discovered it had no running hot water.
Officials from the city council arrived unannounced at Star of Bengal in Whitstable after complaints had been made about social distancing.
While there they found a gas boiler had been turned off after it was condemned by an engineer.
It meant the Harbour Street restaurant was without "an adequate supply of hot water" for staff and customers to wash their hands, and for cleaning to take place in the kitchen.
It was one of a number of issues uncovered by the inspector during two visits last month.
They ruled the kitchen and store were not "pest-proof" and "in need of urgent repair throughout", with poppadoms kept in greasy, damaged food containers with no lids.
The condition and cleanliness of food equipment, along with with personal hygiene practices, was also deemed unsatisfactory.
But it was the boiler that caused most concern, with the inspector giving restaurant bosses until 5pm on the day of the first visit to inform the council how it intended to address the issue.
They questioned how the kitchen could be cleaned, and how staff or customers could wash their hands.
The inspector wrote: "You can only operate a food business if you can demonstrate an adequate supply of hot water for the above activities.
"I strongly suggest you take this opportunity to voluntarily close and carry out a deep-clean while waiting for repairs."
The inspector returned to the restaurant two days later, on September 4, and found a gas engineer on-site carrying out the work.
On that day, they noted: "Cleaning still needs to improve to prevent attracting pests and prevent contamination of food."
A further inspection was undertaken on October 2, where the inspector found some improvements had been made in the kitchen, which was tidier and had new food containers.
But they added more detailed cleaning was required and raised further concerns about the electrical safety of the kitchen.
The inspector also advised bosses to only set every other table to adhere to social distancing rules.
Council spokesman Rob Davies says the authority has given restaurant bosses advice so they can improve their rating at a follow-up inspection.
"Some measures have already been completed and we know they are progressing other matters as well," he said.
"We have suggested they use the right of reply facility on the national ratings website so that customers are aware of the steps they are taking.
"Low scores like this are pretty unusual in the Canterbury district. Currently out of 1,601 inspected food businesses, 99.6% have either three, four or five stars, which shows we have very good compliance with food safety standards locally."
Star of Bengal declined to comment when contacted by KentOnline.