How clean are West Hampstead restaurants?

Congratulations to all those West Hampstead restaurants, cafés, bars and takeaways that have scored a maximum 5/5 on their Food Standards Agency inspections. A pleasingly high number of our local establishments have received top marks, with a similarly healthy number falling just one point short.

Five offenders were awarded just one point (Gung Ho, Cafe Plus, Pizza Micco, Bombay Nights, and Cafe Bon), and one – Roni’s – scored a worrying zero.

View West Hampstead food hygiene scores in a larger map
Red: 0-1, Orange: 2-3, Green: 4-5

What do these numbers actually mean?
0 – Urgent improvement necessary
1 – Major improvement necessary
2 – Improvement necessary
3 – Generally satisfactory
4 – Good
5 – Very good

According to the government’s website,

“The food safety officer inspecting a business checks how well the business is meeting the law by looking at:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • the condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.”

It is always important to see when the inspection was made. Inspections are supposed to be fairly frequent (as often as every six months in some cases), however, Starbucks in West End Lane was last inspected in August 2008!

How concerned should you be by a low-scoring business? Here’s what The Guardian (who published the data on which this map is based) says:

“Anything less than a score of three out of five constitutes a fail. Businesses given ratings of 0 or 1 are those that need to make urgent or major improvements – but they’re not closed down. That only happens if the food is so unsafe for the public to eat that there’s an imminent risk to health.”

Quite a lot of new businesses haven’t been rated at all – you can see those in white on the map.

For the most up-to-date information, check out the FSA’s own searchable list, and there are Android, iPhone and Windows apps too. Scores on the Doors also publishes the same information.