A POPULAR cocktail bar in Warrington has expressed its disappointment at its new food hygiene rating.

Dead Eyes, on Bridge Street, was rated one-out-of-five for food hygiene by officers conducting a Food Standards Agency inspection.

The inspection took place on October 27, and the cocktail bar was hit with a poor rating - there is a delay between an inspection taking place and the results being made public.

Warrington Guardian: The bar is a popular spot for cocktails in the town centreThe bar is a popular spot for cocktails in the town centre (Image: Newsquest)

Inspections are carried out against the following criteria: 

  • Hygienic food handling - Hygienic handling of food including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage.
  • Management of food safety - System or checks in place to ensure that food sold or served is safe to eat, evidence that staff know about food safety, and the food safety officer has confidence that standards will be maintained in future.
  • Cleanliness and condition of facilities and building - Cleanliness and condition of facilities and building (including having appropriate layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control) to enable good food hygiene.

The cocktail bar was rated 'generally satisfactory' for hygienic food handling and the cleanliness of the building.

However, it was rated as needed 'major improvement' regarding its management of food safety.

Less than a day after the inspection took place, Dead Eyes contacted the Warrington Guardian regarding the impending publication of the poor hygiene rating, and the bar wanted to level with the public.

Dead Eyes said: "We are very disappointed to receive our one-out-of-five on our inspection because as a team everyone works very hard and we have the highest standards.

"The reality is that it was naivety that let us down.

"The result is down to us not having our paperwork available for the inspection.

"The day before [the inspection] the chef took home our big folder that is our kitchen bible that contains all our food records, cleaning schedules and operations folder so he could update the cleaning rotas and simply forgot to bring them back the next day when we had an inspection and unfortunately at that point it’s too late.

"We couldn’t go and get them as we the inspector would have been gone and [the records] need to be available at the time."

The bar's owner, Graeme Keast, said: "As the owner, I absolutely understood this, and we take the responsibility as a team - I should have made it crystal clear [the documents] can’t leave the kitchen, as should the management team.

"A human error cost us big time but [it is] one that won’t be made again.

"In the inspection, a few cleaning issues were raised, as it would in any audit, and these have been actioned and our kitchen teams have done refresher courses on food safety etc.

"The inspector could see our disappointment and even said it would have been a five-out-of-five if we had our paperwork in order.

"I do think the scoring should be looked at, personally, as people see ‘one star’ and think straight away it’s unsafe and dirty, but that isn’t the case."

Warrington Guardian: The bar is often packed at weekendsThe bar is often packed at weekends (Image: Dead Eyes)

He continued: "Dead Eyes is in the top five per cent of restaurants for customer ratings on JustEat, won multiple awards and we’ve never had a complaint with food when customers eat in with us.

"We have raving fans and we feel we let our fans down.

"We didn’t want to hide away and it’s us that approached the Warrington Guardian after this inspection.

"In this case, it was simply our paperwork wasn’t available and this was our fault, but I think to knock straight to a one is harsh.

"We had food stored correctly, food labelled, training records available, and could have scanned [and sent] over our three years of records or got them within an hour."

Finally, Graeme issued a warning for others in the hospitality sector: "A lesson for all restaurants… always be ready and don’t let your guard down.

"We have paid for a revisit so will have a new score very soon.

"No further visits were necessary as the inspector had no major concerns."