The boss of one of Sheffield’s best-loved and oldest Indian restaurants has pledged an extensive kitchen upgrade in its bid to regain its food safety stars.
The Ashoka on Ecclesall Road lost its hygiene standards rating in March.
Owner Rahul Amin has issued an apology to customers for ‘taking his eye off the ball.’
Food Standards Agency officers inspected the Ashoka’s hygienic food handling, cleanliness and facilities and and declared urgent improvement was needed to the building and food safety management.
“We are incredibly sorry and we are moving heaven and earth to put things right,” said Mr Amin, who took over the Ashoka in 2004.
“After a recent refurbishment our trade grew and we were delivering from the confines of a very small kitchen. We were so focussed on delivering authentic flavours and quality cuisine, we inadvertently took our eye off the ball with regard to some of the regulations.
Our kitchen was not grease-free, our kitchen management paperwork should have been on the premises and unfortunately our hygiene and safety-certified manager had not arrived when the inspector called. Other staff were unable to answer questions on cooling methods and and food temperature checks.”
“We are now building an extension to our kitchen, increasing space, and installing a new, highly efficient kitchen canopy system which will be capable of extracting higher levels of cooking oils.
“In addition we are exploring the possibility of a glass kitchen window so diners can see their food being cooked.”
Added Mr Amin: “We would like to thank our many loyal customers who have continued to support us. We’re very much open and are more than happy to show any diners the kitchen now, and after refurbishment.”
All Ashoka kitchen staff are receiving health and safety certification training and the restaurant will be closing for two weeks in June for the kitchen rebuild.
The Ashoka is in the style of the old Irani cafes that once numbered some 300 across India and is a favourite of the Arctic Monkeys. The band famously ate there last autumn after their concert at Sheffield’s Fly DSA Arena.
Mr Amin bought the business from Kamal Ahmed, who founded the restaurant in 1967 and whose chilled food company supplied spicy dishes to Waitrose,Tesco and Harrods. The Ashoka is Sheffield’s oldest Indian restaurant.