Owner fined for ‘utterly disgusting’ state of Indian takeaway in Portsmouth

CARELESS: Haphazardly stored food at Star of Asia. Picture: Portsmouth City Council
CARELESS: Haphazardly stored food at Star of Asia. Picture: Portsmouth City Council
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THE BOSS of a city restaurant branded ‘utterly disgusting' after an unannounced inspection revealed it had widespread mouse problems has been hit with a fine. 

Former Star of Asia owner Amir Begh, 38, was ordered to pay £1,600 at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday after admitting eight hygiene criminal charges last month. 

Star of Asia. Picture: Google

Star of Asia. Picture: Google

Portsmouth City Council first inspected the Marketway venue in September last year and unearthed a mouse infestation – which had led to ‘fresh’ droppings in the kitchen, bar and a warming cabinet for food. 

Also found were flakes of ceiling paint on kitchen worktops, food peelings dumped in the takeaway’s yard, a vent packed with grease and a poor record of staff hygiene training. 

The court yesterday heard Begh, of Southsea – who took over the restaurant just a week before the inspection – voluntarily shut up shop after its unsavoury findings. 

However, after vowing to stage a deep clean he was met with a staff walkout – and even when he invited inspectors back in January – it was still a mess. 

Mitigating, Charles Gabb told the court Begh, a chef, had been ‘taken for a fool’ after buying the restaurant from a family friend for £15,000 – with £8,000 of borrowed cash and £7,000 put on his credit card. 

On the results of inspections at the site, Mr Gabb said: ‘He should’ve shut up shop, but his mistake was trying to muddle his way through.’ 

He added: ‘He regrets this, apologises and realises he was way out of his depth.’ 

Sentencing, judge William Ashworth criticised Begh for taking on the restaurant with ‘no previous management experience’ and posing a risk of ‘high adversity’ to its customers. 

‘The condition of the premises was utterly disgusting and, as a chef, you would have positively been aware this was in no way a place where food could have been safely prepared,’ he said. 

He added: ‘You were taken advantage of and were wholly under-equipped to run a kitchen.’ 

The Star of Asia is now in different hands and Begh works as a chef at Paanchi in Fratton Road.