A PUB landlord and landlady have apologised for allowing their kitchen to become filthy – and have vowed that they have cleaned up their act.
Pictures shown as evidence in court of how bad the situation at The Cormorant, in Castle Street, Portchester had got showed grease congealed on its grill, blood in its fridge and salmon so far out of date it resembled bacon.
And after the shock of being fined £14,000 by the courts for hygiene offences, they are so confident of the kitchen’s cleanliness they are offering tours for anybody who wants to eat there.
Landlord Michael Frewing said: ‘It’s so clean, you can see your face in the surfaces.’
Mr Frewing and his wife Carol were prosecuted by Fareham Borough Council after a routine inspection last January found that the kitchen was filthy.
Mrs Frewing, 60, said: ‘We took our eye off the ball just before the inspection and we shouldn’t have done that.
‘We let our customers down by allowing our high standards to slip to an unacceptable level and we want to apologise to all those who have enjoyed eating here for so many years.’
The pair have been at the helm of the pub for 12 years, and have been in the pub business for 30 years.
The Cormorant has had five further inspections by the council, the last in October. The pub is now rated as a three out of five – generally satisfactory.
This is something that could only be improved, according to the Frewings, if the beer cellar was repainted and if training – which has already been completed – is recorded differently.
Mrs Frewing said there have been major changes at the pub since the inspection, including the whole team being retrained, new systems being put into place, and the removal of older equipment including a grill that was not used. She now inspects the kitchen several times a day.
She said: ‘I don’t trust anybody any more. I’m out there all the time.’
The pair hope to carry on at the pub for many years to come and say they have been heartened by some of the regulars’ responses.
They are even offering any potential diners a guided tour of the kitchen.
Mr Frewing, 64, said: ‘We made a terrible mistake last January but for 10 months since then we have been delivering good food and we are happy for our customers to come and see that for themselves.’