THE owner of an award-winning restaurant says he wants to reassure customers it is 'safe and clean' following a poor hygiene rating.

Culcheth's The Raj was hit with a disappointing hygiene rating following its latest inspection, which took place in November last year.

The restaurant was given a score of one-out-of-five after it was inspected on November 9 - there is a delay between inspections taking place and the result being made publicly available on the Food Standards Agency's website.

According to the inspection report, The Raj requires 'major improvement' in the management of food safety, as well as requiring improvements in the cleanliness and condition of facilities, and hygienic food handling.

Speaking to the Warrington Guardian, The Raj's owner - Anhar Miah - has expressed his disappointment.

He said: "I am really disappointed at this rating.

"I have been away for over three months and just got back on [after the inspection].

"It’s quite embarrassing to get such a low rating, as I spent so much time and money before I went away.

"The people I left in charge have not been on the ball at all; since I returned I have rectified the issues and have had all members of the team on training courses."

Warrington Guardian: Anhar says that he and the team are getting back on trackAnhar says that he and the team are getting back on track (Image: The Raj)

Anhar added: "Also to their defence, I think there was a language barrier issue with staff and the EHO.

"Nevertheless, I would like to assure my customers that my kitchen is and has always been clean and the issues mainly were the paperwork and organisation 

"We have had issues with our outside buildings with our leaking roof, which now has been fixed."

The restauranteur also said that the site was broken into recently, which caused other problems.

He added: "There was another issue with ceiling and wiring which happened during a break-in a few months back - this has also been fixed and the EHO have visited since and are happy with the progress.

"We are awaiting a revisit in the next few months and I am confident we will be back on track.

"I want to assure the public that the kitchens are safe and clean, as many of my regulars frequently go in and see the chefs."