A RECENTLY-opened Italian restaurant was rapped for its potential to welcome in pests and its failure to chill high-risk food.

Wildwood Kitchen in Abingdon was issued a two-star hygiene rating after scrutiny from a council inspector last month, who also suggested the establishment should disregard customer preferences by banning burgers that were cooked pink.

An inspector from Vale of White Horse District Council wrote in a report: "You must ensure you follow your food safety management system and ensure burgers are thoroughly cooked and not served rare or medium. Even if a customer requests they must be thoroughly cooked.

"The counter top fridges used for pizza toppings and garnish are holding food above eight degrees Celsius. Bolognese was 10 degrees Celsius and cooked chicken was 12 degrees Celsius. You must ensure high-risk food is stored below eight degrees Celsius.

"Keep the back door closed to prevent access to pests. I recommend a screen is installed so air can still circulate."

It was the first time the restaurant in Bury Street had been checked over by the council, after its opening two and a half months ago.

The report, which summarised an inspection on May 12, also advised staff to "thoroughly clean the floor below equipment and the edges around the bar", "ensure dishwasher trays are cleaned" and "replace chopping boards and wooden plates when worn and can no longer be adequately cleaned".

It also urged management to organise repairs within one month to fix areas of the ceiling next to pipework, ensuring it becomes "smooth and easy to clean".

Kristiana Geneva, who manages the restaurant, said: "The main things have all been followed and done already. Obviously we have got some points that need work on, but there are no big problems. We have never had pests. We don't really have any problems.

"It quite a new place. Feedback has been mostly positive but of course some things go wrong. Mostly people are happy, I believe we are becoming popular.

"The area outside is really nice because it's in a central place in the main square so it's gives a really nice view. We have already improved. Whenever it comes to the checks again I think we will be fine. As long as we have sorted the problems straight away. For our first inspection I believe we did a really good job, and hopefully our second one will be even better."

The inspector investigated areas including the kitchen, bar, toilets and storage area, detailing eight points to comply with ahead of the next probe.

Small chain Wildwood Kitchen also has a branch in Wantage and one in Didcot, which was awarded a five-star rating after an inspection on May 10 this year.