Norwich restaurant Merge cleans up its act after going from ‘zero’ to ‘five’ for food hygiene

Owner Cindy Meng at Merge which now has a five star food hygiene rating.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Owner Cindy Meng at Merge which now has a five star food hygiene rating.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A Norwich restaurant has cleaned up its act, achieving a five-star food hygiene rating just a week after this newspaper reported on its poor hygiene.

Owner Cindy Meng at Merge which now has a five star food hygiene rating.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Owner Cindy Meng at Merge which now has a five star food hygiene rating.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Merge Bar and Restaurant on Dereham Road received a zero rating from food hygiene inspectors in September last year and was last week named and shamed in an investigation by this paper into restaurants across the region.

In the wake of the investigation, Cindy Meng, the owner of the all-you-can-eat Asian buffet, vowed that the restaurant would clean up its act.

The restaurant was revisited this week by Norwich City Council hygiene inspectors who gave the restaurant a new score of five for food hygiene - the highest possible rating an eatery can achieve - to the delight of Ms Meng.

'We are very pleased to have achieved the five star rating and will ensure that that standard or better will be maintained,' she said.

'In the restaurant industry, it is always important to maintain the best possible customer service so that patrons have the best possible experience.

The standard required will be kept up and improved upon wherever possible.'

Norwich City Council confirmed Merge's new rating and said Ms Meng had worked closely with their food inspectors to ensure that all issues were fixed.

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A council spokesperson said: 'Merge have been re-inspected and awarded a rating of five. This inspection will be published on our website within the next four weeks, in line with usual procedure.'

Among the hygiene contraventions originally recorded against Merge were that pigeons had access to the restaurant, flies and fruit flies were seen in the store rooms and maggots were found in an open bin liner.

The restaurant has celebrated its new rating by offering special meal deals for customers.

Ali Andos, on Unthank Road, is the only other Norwich restaurant to have received a zero since mid-2015.

Its owner Ali Bari said the restaurant had made dramatic improvements to its hygiene since last November's inspection and was awaiting a re-rating by council inspectors.

Mr Bari said: 'They gave me all the details on everything and I managed to fix everything within a week.

'I've since had a meeting with the council to outline what we've done and they're coming back this month to re-score.'

•Find out here how clean your favourite Norfolk restaurants are

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