Rodent droppings were found in a Bangladeshi restaurant in Bicester when food hygiene inspectors paid a visit.

Zaara Bar and Bangladeshi Restaurant on 8 Causeway was recently given a two out of five rating after it was inspected on February 20.

A Freedom of Information request sent to Cherwell District Council has found inspectors discovered “raw and cooked food” stored improperly and “evidence of rodent activity” in the restaurant’s external food store.

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The restaurant is under new ownership and a new application for registering the business was completed during the inspector’s visit.

The inspector found that food was placed in places where it “may be contaminated by rodents”.

They said: “The storage of loose vegetables such as ginger, onions, in the external yard must cease”.

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Rice was also found to not be stored correctly, as containers of rice were found to be left out at kitchen temperature.

The inspector wrote in his report that rice “should be held hot, that is above 63C or kept cold below 8C”.

It is suggested in the report that the restaurant’s current method for storing rice risks the growth of “food poisoning bacteria”.

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Raw food was also not separated from the cooked food in the coldroom, with this increasing the risk of cross contamination.

The external food store was not clean but was found to have “droppings, damaged cardboard boxes and loose rodent bait scattered on the floor”.

The inspector advised the restaurant cleaned away the droppings immediately and “make good any rodent entry points”.

In addition to dealing with rodents infesting the food store, the inspector said it was also necessary to make the external drinks store “rodent proof” and for the owner (s) to block “any entry points to prevent ingress of rodents”.

The inspector also advised the restaurant used only single use or disposable cloths, as currently there was a risk of “cross contamination”.

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The report also revealed that the restaurant has “inadequate” information about the allergen content of their food.

The restaurant will be revisited by the environment health officer and they have warned the business’ owner that they expect improvements to be completed by then.

In the past, the restaurant, which serves both Indian and Bangladeshi food, has been rated one of the best in Bicester.

However, reviews for the restaurant on TripAdvisor recently have been mixed.

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Trip Advisor user Honest Reviewer 13 said: "My partner and friends went here recently for a birthday celebration and although they said the food was ok, the service was really slow.

“However, the main criticism is the toilets.

“It really doesn’t take much to keep a small toilet area clean.

“My concern when toilets are like this is that the management are aware that customers see these areas so makes me question what the kitchens are like that customers don’t get to see!”

Despite this criticism, another Trip Advisor reviewer Katie D said: “Food is so nice, love their butter chicken, and I had the mushroom rice, which is delicious.

“Service is great too.”

The restaurant has been approached for comment.