The owner of a Greek restaurant dubbed ‘the dirtiest in the world’ has been banned from managing food outlets indefinitely.
When health and safety officers raided Zorba’s Greek Taverna in Leinster Terrace, Bayswater, they found it littered with cockroach eggs and mice droppings.
Branded ‘the dirtiest in the world’ on Trip Adviser, the restaurant next to Hyde Park was covered in rodent droppings and had sewage flies living in the tahini dip
Chef Pavlos Pittas, 60, admitted four charges of failing to protect food from vermin, rendering his food ‘unfit for human consumption’.
Magistrate Margot Coleman, handed him an indefinite prohibition order from managing restaurants and said the taverna was ‘one of the dirtiest restaurants I have seen’.
His company Le Palefco was also fined £12,800 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Mrs Coleman told Pittas he had ‘complete disregard’ for hygiene regulations.
‘Your restaurant has got a poor food and and hygiene record.
‘It’s got a poor history going back to your conviction in 2008.
‘Your restaurant has been closed on more than one occasion because of poor conditions.
‘There will be a fine of £3,200 on each matter making a total of £12,800.
‘Prohibition orders are not made often and only in the most extreme circumstances.
‘It appears to me that not a great deal has changed. The underlying trend has not changed.
‘You’re effectively a one man company, the status of your restaurant is your responsibility.
‘In all my years dealing with these sorts of cases your restaurant is one of the dirtiest that I have seen.
‘The fact is there’s a continuing trend over a long number of years of appalling hygiene in your premises.
‘You seem to run your restaurant with complete disregard for the regulations that exist to protect members of the public from becoming ill.’
Westminster City Council inspectors found mouse droppings under a counter used in food preparation and all over the kitchen.
Rat droppings and rat hairs were found in the kitchen floor on the counters and covering equipment.
Mouse droppings were also found on food containers in the customer toilet.
Cockroach egg cases and mouse droppings were found on the floor outside the cold room in the basement.
The insects were also found on a monitor in the basement storeroom and on a shelf storing used to store lentils and dry goods.
Sewage flies were actually breeding in the sesame seed based dip.
Raw meat was stored on a filthy floor in the cold room, filthy containers of food with no date labels were found in the fridge and mouldy potatoes were found in the walk-in-fridge.
Officers found thawed a chicken fillet and blood stains frozen into ice in the freezer and a dirty mincer covered in mouse droppings.
They say the charcoal grill and microwave were filthy and clogged up with thick grease.
Pittas repeatedly failed to appear in court without relevant papers during his proceedings, which stretch back to June last year.
He eventually admitted the charges against him and appeared in court today, dressed down in a polo shirt and jeans.
On Trip Advisor 67% of 193 reviewers rated Zorba’s the lowest rating of ‘Terrible’ and one said she would rather eat dog pooh than dine there again.
Reviews on the site call the restaurant ‘dirty’, ‘disgusting’, ‘awful’ and ‘absolutely dreadful’.
One reviewer says it is ‘the dirtiest restaurant I ever seen in the world’ and a ‘horrible place and a dangerous place to eat.’
Another describes it as: ‘The worse dining experience of my life. Terrible food, terrible service and the chef was shouting at his staff during the whole evening.’
Another reviewer talks of being ‘reluctantly greeted and seated’ by a chef in a ‘filthy apron’.
Others state that piles of rubbish were left by the front door and plates and tables were dirty.
Pittas, was given a prohibition order from managing restaurants and his company Le Palefco were fined £12,800 for four counts of failing to comply with EU food hygiene provision.