Sydney’s grottiest restaurants revealed
A string of top foodie destinations in Chatswood, the city, Bondi, Hurstville, Bankstown and Auburn are among more than a hundred Sydney restaurants across 10 worst-offending suburbs named and shamed for unhygienic food handling and roach infestations.
From failing to wash hands to leaving food to rot, some of Sydney's most popular food haunts feature in the NSW Food Authority list of the 10 suburbs slapped with the most fines for food safety breaches since the start of the year - with many repeat offenders.
SEE BELOW IF YOUR SUBURB IS ON THE LIST
Restaurants with lines flowing out the door feature in the list including Din Tai Fung in Chatswood, fined in April for poor hand washing practices and failing to process safe food to customers.
Bustling Marrickville pho spot Eat Fuh in Sydney's inner west was also fined for inadequate hand washing facilities.
An exhaustive analysis of data from the start of the year revealed Sydney's top 10 suburbs for food safety breaches copped hundreds of fines totalling almost $220,000.
Sushi restaurants in the affluent eastern suburbs to Chinese restaurants in the north and Middle Eastern food spots in Sydney's west have all been busted for potentially hazardous poor food handling practices.
Restaurants lauded with rave reviews and named and shamed for dishing up dirty food include Taste of Shanghai in Hurstville, hit for bad hand washing practices and 'Australian Cafe of the Year' XS Espresso in Bondi for its unclean kitchen and poor storage of hazardous foods.
In the heart of the city, Assamm Thai and Top Juice Centrepoint are just some of the food spots fined for contaminated food, with Top Juice also fined for pest problems.
The worst repeat offender in the list is Indian restaurant Banoful Restaurant and Sweets in Lakemba, slapped with nine fines totalling almost $10,000 since the start of the year for its dirty kitchen, contaminated food and failure to respond to multiple warnings.
SUBURBS WITH THE GROTTIEST KITCHENS
Topping the list of worst offending suburbs is Chatswood, which has had a total of 42 fines since the start of the year issued across 19 restaurants including Din Tai Fung, Sushi Hub and Jim's Malaysian.
Taking second place as a food safety offender is Sydney City, which has 17 restaurants which have copped 35 fines between them, with most complaints relating to unclean kitchens.
Sydney's western suburbs also have some of the grottiest restaurants in Sydney, with suburbs like Auburn, Lakemba and Bankstown having among the highest number of fines issued for food safety issues like poor hygiene and food storing.
Bankstown came in as the roach capital, with half of the restaurants listed slapped with fines for letting pests run amok on kitchen floors.
The affluent Bondi Beach was also named as home to a raft of unclean restaurants with 15 businesses slapped with fines mainly relating to food being left on unclean benches.
Foodie favourite Hurstville came in fourth for restaurants with food safety problems with 13 establishments coughing up thousands to authorities for their dirty kitchens.
All restaurants mentioned in this article were contacted for comment and the Daily Telegraph acknowledges that some have changed practices since receiving fines.
See if a restaurant in your suburb has responded below.
Shane Scanlon, CEO of Keevers, the owner of the Eldridge Bistro told the Daily Telegraph that they "take every measure" to ensure compliance with food safety standards.
"Our staff always practise safe food handling, undertake food safety programs and have increased our food safety supervisors," he said.
Din Tai Fung in Chatswood said that they take food safety very seriously and have always been very proactive in following through on recommendations.
"Throughout the years, we have maintained a good track record for compliance in regular food safety inspections."
Thai restaurant Khao Pla told the Telegraph the fine was a result of a supplier leaving a product outside and said they have since changed food handling practices through in house training and communication with suppliers.
Management at Jim's Malaysian apologised for the fine received and said they have since enacted a food processing standard to ensure all food is handled with strict hygiene before it is served.
"Our trainee staff's negligence caused the previous incident at work, and we have taken this issue into a serious case internally. The particular team member has received well training immediately for the food handling process," they said.
The manager of 85 Degree bakery said they felt the fine was "not fair" as it occurred after a period of intense rain which resulted in serious flooding requiring renovations.
Management at Gloria Jeans told the Telegraph that the fine they received was a result of a "mix-up" in the milk delivery schedule which saw milk left outside before staff arrived - an issue now rectified with a change of roster.
Pho Phd permanently closed earlier this year and was relocated and renamed under new management as Pho Phd Vietnamese.
Popular pho spot Eat Fuh said that their soap dispenser was empty on the morning of the inspection and emphasised that they take food safety very seriously.
"This is an unfortunate oversight on our behalf and we have reviewed our processes and enacted changes," they told the Telegraph.
Councils clean up their act
Councils across Sydney told the Telegraph they work hard to ensure that restaurants in their council areas are educated about food safety standards.
City of Canterbury Bankstown told the Telegraph they are "one of the most proactive councils" when it comes to food compliance, hosting free food safety workshops.
"Bankstown has the highest number of food handling businesses in our City and, just like all food handling businesses in Canterbury-Bankstown, they are regularly inspected," a spokesman said.
Georges River Council said that they are committed to ensuring food handling practices are safe across the council area and works with business to educate staff about best practice.
General Manager of Cumberland Council, Hamish McNulty said council has "high expectations" when it comes to food safety and offers free food safety training for restaurants.
The Inner West Council said the high number of restaurants fined was partly related to the density of restaurants in the suburb and the timing of inspections.
Council also said they are improving food safety by regularly conducting inspections and offering education for business operators.
City of Sydney Council said that less than two per cent of food businesses in the city's local government area were issued with penalty notices in the 2018-19 financial year.
A spokesman at Willoughby Council said that the quantity of fines issued correlates with a high concentration of restaurants in the area and the fact 997 inspections occurred during 2018 and 2019.
Council also said that it considers the ongoing failure of some restaurants to meet food safety standards to be unacceptable.