Japanese restaurant

Japanese restaurant blown up after cockroaches found in kitchen near sushi area

A Japanese restaurant in south London has temporarily closed after inspectors found cockroaches near where sushi was prepared. Bento in Lewisham received the worst possible score of 0 for food safety. A Lewisham Council inspector also found mouse poop on the kitchen floor and shelves when they visited in October last year.

Staff told the official that they thawed the chicken by immersing it in cold water in the kitchen sink and leaving it overnight. Jars and lids were stored outside. The restaurant, which specializes in Japanese and Chinese cuisine, broke 18 food hygiene rules. Inspectors ordered him to take immediate action to improve or deal with the closure.

According to the restaurant’s social media, Bento closed for renovations at the end of October and does not appear to have reopened since. Lewisham Council’s Food Safety Report dated 8 October 2021 reads: ‘At the time of the inspection there was evidence of pest activity in the form of rice droppings in various areas of your premises. Additionally, a few live cockroaches were spotted in a sticky trap located on the ground in the sushi preparation area.

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“Staff advised that raw meat such as chicken and pork should be thawed by immersing them in cold water in the double sinks in the upstairs kitchen overnight. This practice poses a serious risk of cross-contamination as bacteria can spread to surfaces that come into contact with food, utensils, etc.

The report continues: “It was noted that you used an outdoor space to store kitchen utensils such as pots and lids. This is unhygienic as equipment that will come into contact with food may be contaminated.

The inspector found that a sheet with details of ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction was incomplete. Meanwhile the staff couldn’t list the allergens in the satay sauce. The restaurant’s menu told customers that its food was free of genetically modified (GM) ingredients, but the council official discovered that the kitchen staff were cooking with oil containing GM soybeans.

The report reads: ‘A member of staff failed to provide specific information on the allergens present in the ‘satay sauce’. … There was no mention of the presence of shellfish in the satay sauce. You were using JJ Food Service vegetable cooking oil made from genetically modified soybeans. However, you have not informed your customers about GMOs in the food you produce. In fact, there was a statement printed on your menus that said ‘Our foods do NOT contain GMOs’”

Phone calls to Bento went unanswered when the Local Democracy Reporting Service attempted to contact the restaurant on March 24. A photo posted to Facebook on January 10 said the restaurant would reopen at some point in 2022. It read: “We are closed. See you next year 2022,” but there have been no updates on the restaurant’s Facebook page since.