A ONE-STAR food hygiene rating at a restaurant or takeaway is probably enough to put most people off eating there.

Dirty kitchens neglected paperwork and even infestations can be some of the grim causes for restaurants to get a one or even a zero-star food hygiene rating from the council.

However, many restaurants have completely turned it around after getting one-star ratings and have gone on to achieve five stars.

What do the numbers mean?

0 - urgent improvement necessary

1 - major improvements necessary

2 - improvements necessary

3 - business generally satisfactory

4 - business good on assessment

5 - business seen as very good

So, what has happened to Oxfordshire’s poorly marked restaurants and takeaways are they still open, closed, or completely transformed?

1. Taste of Jamaica – Five Stars

Oxford Mail:

Taste of Jamaica is a family run business on Cowley Road in Littlemore.

In November the restaurant achieved a five-star hygiene rating after being inspected by Oxford City Council.

However, the restaurant has not always passed its hygiene inspections with flying colours.

In February 2019, Taste of Jamaica was given a one-star hygiene rating and was told that major improvements were needed.

The business has turned itself around, now scoring the highest food hygiene rating.

Restaurant owner Saudia Hind said she was happy with the result and said the previous low score was a result of different people running the restaurant.

Ms Hind replaced the people who ran the restaurant as soon as she received the bad hygiene rating, and as a result 2020 has been a positive year for the business.

2. Common Ground Café- Five stars

Oxford Mail:

Common Ground Café and Shared Workspace is a social enterprise pop-up in an Oxford University owned building in Little Clarendon Street which was formerly Barclays Bank.

The study area and social space has not always had top marks: two years ago the cafe scored a low hygiene rating of two stars after not having a working hot water tap.

Covid delayed the cafe’s next hygiene inspection which resulted in Common Ground Cafe waiting two years to improve its ranking.

Now, the business has a working hot water tap and secured five stars and is hopeful it will encourage more customers.

3. Za’atar Bake- Five Stars

Oxford Mail:

Za’atar Bake on Cowley Road is an Arabic bakery with brilliant reviews has scored a five-star hygiene rating turning it around from just two stars in 2019.

Previously in January 2019 the cafe was criticised by hygiene inspectors for poor staff knowledge, pizza topping temperatures and the risk to customers of making dough on plywood.

However, cafe owner Mahmoud Al-Hadad believes the council acted unfairly as he had previously asked for help. 

Now with the help of his business partner and head chef, Ahmad Mohamad, Za’atar Bake has top marks and has its food hygiene paperwork in order.

Mr Al-Hadad said: “It is good, and we are going to keep it that way.”

4. Cowley Khyber Kebab House – One Star

Oxford Mail:

The takeaway kebab house received a one-star hygiene rating following criticism of the storage of raw burgers, a greasy extractor fan and dirty tea towel.

Now the takeaway is set to close and be transformed into a takeaway pizza shop – called Mother Hand Pizza.

5. Erdem Food Centre- One Star

Oxford Mail:

The supermarket and butchers received a one-star hygiene rating following criticism of the storage of raw meat, a broken thermometer and poor hand washing facilities.

Aamir Shehzad, manager of Erdem Food Centre, said that since the initial inspection in December he had been revisited by food hygiene inspectors and the store had taken on board the criticisms.

He said: “Now everything is perfect, the butcher’s section is all clean. The hygiene inspector revisited and inspected the whole area and said everything is perfect and clean.”

6. Oxford’s Grill- Five Stars

Oxford Mail:

In December the Turkish restaurant which has previously been criticised for serving out-of-date smoked salmon and ‘unsafe’ beef carpaccio has achieved a five-star hygiene rating.

In January 2018, the restaurant manager Fetai Karabulut said he was left ‘shocked’ after getting a one-star grade.

Since the low score the restaurant has dramatically improved its food hygiene and it was refurbished in December 2019.

7. Coach and Horses- One Star

Oxford Mail:

Coach and Horses is a bed and breakfast in St Clement's built on the site of an old coaching inn dating from the eighteenth century, said to be the last in Oxford before the road to London.

The bed and breakfast has a five star rating on Trip Advisor with 237 reviews rating it excellent.

However, the eight-bedroom family-owned business that offers a full English and continental breakfasts scored a food and hygiene rating of one star in December 2019.

The main reason for the low hygiene score was because at the time of the inspection the managers were unable to provide a copy of the daily temperatures or the Safer Food, Better Business (SFBB) pack records.

However, the bed and breakfast is set to close its doors. The owner of the bed and breakfast who does not wish to be named, said: “I have not had any more inspections since. I have been closed since lockdown and my business is over."

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on news@nqo.com or 01865 425 445.