The former director of a popular Indian restaurant and cocktail bar in Ruislip has been forced to pay more than £9,000 after a cockroach infestation was discovered by Hillingdon Council’s food and health and safety team.
The team made an unannounced visit to Kho Kho on Ruislip High Street in July 2022 after a customer complained that they had found one of the bugs in their food.
During the visit, the council found poor levels of cleanliness throughout, with ready to eat food stored uncovered in areas where there was evidence of live cockroaches. There were also maintenance issues, including an open drain with stagnant standing water.
These conditions were seen to be an imminent risk of injury to health by the council, which took the director of the restaurant Nikhil Walia, 38, of Kingsend Court, Ruislip to court over its findings. He admitted to four breaches of food hygiene regulations and two breaches of the conditions of his licence when he appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, September 12.
The court was told Kho Kho had a history of pest infestations with pest control records showing evidence of cockroaches being treated previously in both September 2021 and February 2022.
In July 2022, a judge granted a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order prohibiting Kho Kho from operating as a restaurant, but this order was lifted by Hillingdon Council on 11 July 2022 following evidence that the health risk had been removed.
Breaches of the premises licence were also raised during the court hearing with Kho Kho having a noise complaint made against it when a neighbouring resident complained to the council about amplified noise coming from the bar and restaurant at around 11.40pm on January 14, 2023.
In January 2022, the council’s licensing sub-committee agreed to reduce the hours of Kho Kho bar and restaurant’s regulated entertainment, to end at 11pm, following complaints from neighbouring residents of late-night noise dating back to summer 2019.
Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “We’re committed to creating a borough where residents can feel safe and protected. So, we refuse to let businesses play fast and loose with the health and wellbeing of people in their communities.
“This is a great result reflecting the hard work of our food and health and safety and out of hours nuisance teams which have taken to task a business director who has continued to flout the rules, with no regard to his customers or neighbours.”
For the four hygiene offences, relating to pest control, food storage and cleanliness, Mr Walia was fined £1,538 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £615 and the council’s prosecution costs of £4,877. For the two licensing offences, there was no separate fine, but Mr Walia was ordered to pay the council’s costs of £2,472.
Kho Kho has been contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.