One of its claims to fame is being the birthplace of comedian Peter Sellers - but now a Chinese takeaway in Southsea has made headlines for the wrong reasons.
Mouse droppings, grime on the walls and noodles stored in a toilet doorway have landed the couple who run the restaurant with fines totalling thousands of pounds. Magistrates in Portsmouth heard it was Li Hong Sun’s ‘dream’ to open a takeaway of her own with her husband.
But hygiene inspectors discovered a nightmare when they turned up at Mayfair Chinese, in Castle Road, Southsea, run by director Mrs Sun with her chef husband.
Prosecutor Victoria Putnam said: ‘Following a complaint being received in relation to the premises and vermin therein, the officer visited Mayfair Chinese.’
She added: ‘During the visit she noticed evidence of mouse infestation, poor cleanliness and poor hygiene procedures.’
Chairman of the magistrates Jonathan Bound fined the Li Hong Ltd £3,000 and ordered the firm to pay £870 in costs.
Mouse droppings were seen close to and inside a wooden box containing vegetables, which was next to a freezer.
Ms Putnam said the officer who inspected the takeaway said that was a risk of contamination.
Staff admitted there was a pest problem but said pest control had been out in the month before the visit and they had cleaned a few days before but had not noticed the droppings.
‘They went on to say they were short-staffed and hadn’t been able to clean as much,’ added Ms Putnam.
Noodles were seen stored in the doorway to a toilet. That toilet has now been converted into a storeroom.
Inadequate hand-washing facilities were found, with mouse droppings found close to the sink and vegetables.
The wall behind the sink was covered in grime, as was a chopping board. A container of raw meat was stored next to a cooked container of chicken.
The restaurant – in a building which was the birthplace of actor and comedian Peter Sellers – closed voluntarily on the day of inspection, August 28 last year, and re-opened the next day.
Further visits identified other dirty areas but no mouse droppings as improvements had been made. A cleaning schedule had not been completed.
Chris du Boulay, defending, said the company admitted the breaches at the inspection and had addressed problems.
He said: ‘This was a new business set up by Mrs Sun in September 2013, a Chinese takeaway/restaurant with her husband works as the main chef.
‘He worked for other people’s businesses before as a chef for some 10 years and she worked in kitchens as well.
‘But it had always been their dream to open their own restaurant together but as their first business they were somewhat inexperienced from the start.
‘They have had to learn the hard way the impact of getting hygiene requirements right.’
Chairman of the magistrates bench Mr Bound said the court took a ‘poor view’ of the firm’s reaction to several official visits.
Mrs Sun admitted all the charges on behalf of the company Li Hong Ltd, which trades as Mayfair Chinese.
All charges were under Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013.
They were: the premises were not maintained in a clean condition, failed to protect food from the risk of contamination; no adequate procedures in place to control pests and inadequate hand-washing facilities.
* A blue plaque on the restaurant celebrates the bith of Peter Sellers there on 8 September 1925. His parents were travelling entertainers and his father was appearing at the Kings Theatre at the time. Two weeks later, Sellers made his first public appearance when he was carried onto the stage at the Kings.