Masala Lounge Indian restaurant in Rugby fined for poor hygiene
An Indian restaurant where health inspectors saw a waiter blow on poppadoms intended for a customer has been fined £7,300 for poor hygiene.
During the March inspection, the Masala Lounge, in Rugby, was also found to be failing to carry out safety checks.
Inspectors saw a staff member change his shoes in the kitchen and found food stored next to paint tins and tools.
Restaurant director Monjur Choudhury admitted six food hygiene offences at Warwickshire Justice Centre.
Rugby Borough Council said it had been left with "no option" but to prosecute.
During the inspection of the restaurant's kitchen, officers spotted a waiter blowing on a plate of poppadoms. When challenged, the waiter said the poppadoms were "too hot" to serve to a customer.
Another member of staff changed his shoes in the kitchen, storing the unworn pair next to a tub of peeled onions under a kitchen worktop.
The town centre restaurant, in Castle Street, which claims to be an "avant garde" eatery, was also found to have a dirty fridge and chopping board, a hot food cabinet covered in grease and dirt and chest freezers with split and mouldy door seals.
Food ingredients were stored next to DIY tools, a vacuum cleaner, paint tins and computer parts.
Officers also found the kitchen was operating without a food safety management system, suggesting staff were failing to carry out regular, routine safety checks.
During the hearing on Tuesday, the council said an officer had returned to the Masala Lounge earlier in August to find the restaurant had failed to address a number of the hygiene and safety issues highlighted during the original inspection.
Mr Choudhury apologised and said the safety breaches in the kitchen and storerooms had now been addressed.
Councillor Lisa Parker, who oversees environmental matters on the authority, said: "Cutting corners on food hygiene puts the health of customers at risk."