A RESTAURANT criticised by health inspectors for being dirty, mixing cooked and raw meat, and poor staff training has said it is determined to win back customers' trust.

Alan Lee, who has owned Oxy Oriental for 13 years, said its recent one-star food hygiene rating was a ‘wake up call’ for the Oxford business, which is located in Ozone Leisure Park.

He said: "It was a shock. We had never been given such a low score before and had always had five stars until three years ago.

"Straight away we did work to correct what was wrong.

"A lot of it was maintenance and staff training so we started on that immediately. We also did a full deep clean of the kitchens within a couple days."

When a city council health inspector visited the popular buffet and takeaway opposite the Kassam Stadium last month they were concerned to discover staff preparing cooked meat in the raw meat area, along with a poor knowledge of food safety.

Wipes, meanwhile, were found to be almost three years out of date and ‘smelt bad’.

The cleanliness of fridges and food storage containers were also found to be ‘very dirty’.

READ: Full report on what inspectors found when they visited Oxy Oriental

Structurally, paint from the ceiling above where raw meat was being prepared was said to be flaking and mould was also seen on the ‘delivery area’ of the restaurant.

Mr Lee revealed trade had halved following a story in The Oxford Mail earlier this month which revealed the litany of issues.

He said: “We had a lot of cancellations, especially from people calling up to cancel their Christmas parties.

"It was the worst time it could have happened really but you can't blame people, there were things we needed to fix and standards had lapsed."

The 44-year-old said he believed the rating had been 'harsh' but added: "At the same time getting such a low rating was the wake up call we needed to turn things around."

He explained part of the issue had been caused by a turnover of staff in October and the chef assuming kitchen workers were up to date on correct procedures.

He added: "What I would say to customers is 'please give us another chance'. We take the inspection very seriously and have done everything we can to get back to where we used to be.

"Unfortunately we have to wait until February before we can get a new inspection but we are aiming to get back to five stars."