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Top Northern Ireland restaurant Salty Dog falls foul of inspectors

1-out-of-5 rating for bistro

The Salty Dog

One of Northern Ireland's best known restaurants has been slated by food hygiene inspectors.

Environmental health officers described hygiene in Bangor's Salty Dog Hotel and Bistro as "bad" in a damning report issued shortly before Christmas.

It's a big blow for the critically-acclaimed restaurant which in 2017 made headlines following an endorsement from movie star Sienna Miller.

Miller had dined regularly in the restaurant when living nearby on Ballyholme Esplanade while shooting a film in Northern Ireland.

On a US TV chat show, she raved about The Salty Dog's delicious Scotch eggs.

But now the popular restaurant is having to deal with less welcome publicity.

Food hygiene inspectors from Ards and North Down Borough Council who visited the Seacliff Road bistro on December 3 gave it a dismal 'Scores on the Doors' rating of one out of five and said major improvement was necessary.

Inspectors also stated they had "little confidence" in management at the establishment and described food hygiene and safety as "bad".

The Food Standards Agency has published a summary of the inspectors' report online in which they stated the cleanliness of facilities and the building to enable good food hygiene was "generally satisfactory".

But in the categories of hygienic food handling and management of food safety, the inspectors said a major improvement was necessary.

Owner Ken Sharp took over The Salty Dog in 2012 and it has become renowned as one of Bangor's best-loved and most pet-friendly bistros.

He told Sunday Life: "There were a couple of things which led to it, if you look into the detail of it it's mostly to do with the fabric of the building or the management procedures.

"It's not a cleanliness issue, it's a management and building issue. We have carried out some of the work they wanted us to do, we are working with them and have appealed it but at the same time we are still working with them and doing what they want us to do and ticking the boxes they want us to tick."

Glasgow-born Ken previously worked for the royal family at Buckingham Palace for three years and has experience working in and managing hotels and restaurants across the world.

He and his family moved to Northern Ireland 14 years ago.

The Salty Dog is not the only well-known local restaurant to get a disappointing score from inspectors. The widely-acclaimed Mourne Seafood restaurant in Dundrum, Co Down, also fell foul of the inspectors who described its food hygiene and safety as "poor".

Inspectors from Newry, Mourne and Down Council rated structural compliance as "poor" but said they had "some" confidence in management following their visit last July.

They awarded Mourne Seafood an overall score of just two, recommending that improvement was necessary.

A spokesperson for the council said: "Newry, Mourne and Down District Council can confirm that Mourne Seafood is currently rated as a '2' on the food hygiene rating scheme. The premises had a routine unannounced inspection by the Council's Environmental Health department on July 25, 2019. Conditions and practices noted at the time of the inspection resulted in a score of 2 being issued. A revisit was completed on July 26 to assess works being undertaken. Further revisits happened on August 5 and December 6. To date, the premises has not requested a re-rating inspection.

"The next routine inspection is due at the end of January 2020."

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Belfast Telegraph