Major hygiene problems at top Kenilworth restaurant

The Cross at Kenilworth in New Street. Copyright: Google Street View
The Cross at Kenilworth in New Street. Copyright: Google Street View

A Michelin-starred restaurant in Kenilworth has fallen far short when it comes to hygiene, it has emerged.

The Cross at Kenilworth, in New Street, received a one out of five rating for hygiene after its last inspection at the end of January. The rating means ‘major improvement’ is necessary.

The Cross had actually asked for the inspection because they wanted their earlier four-out-of-five hygiene rating reassessed.

But following the inspection the restaurant’s rating went down to one out of five.

In a letter written to the restaurant by inspector Stuart Murrow, it states The Cross had been using a vacuum packer designated for raw foods for both raw and cooked food.

He added: “You must ensure that vacuum packers are not used for dual use as there is a risk of contamination, unless the equipment and disinfected between uses.

“The sous chef gave an undertaking that the ‘raw’ vacuum packer would not be used for dual use from now on.”

Other problems found by the inspector included storing a bucket of ice used for cooling food down under the u-bend of a sink, and that some of the chefs were not trained in hygiene.

The cleanliness of the restaurant itself was praised, however.

A spokesman for The Cross said: “In light of the current one-star rating, we want to reassure all our diners that The Cross Kenilworth takes health, safety and hygiene very seriously. The issues raised in the recent EHO visit resulted from a paperwork misunderstanding and a broken vacuum packing machine.

“The Cross had a four star rating prior to this inspection, little has changed in the set up or personnel, we reapplied hoping for an even better score. At the revisit one of the vacuum packaging machines was broken, we had implemented controls to protect customers but the inspector marked us down for the issue.

“We have worked with Warwick District Council, completing all recommendations and are looking to apply for a further revisit.

We have absolute confidence that we have always operated at the high standards expect of an award-winning establishment. Whilst we are not due a revisit until May we’d be happy to be inspected without prior warning.”

The restaurant is the only one in Warwickshire to have a coveted Michelin star. Its five-course tasting menu costs £65 per person.