Roach-infested Harehills restaurant owner says it has been cleaned up
Improvements have been made to a restaurant in Leeds that has been found to be infested with cockroaches and rotting fruit, the owner claims.
The Massawa Restaurant in Harehills received a zero food hygiene rating in 2019, the lowest rating of zero, meaning an “urgent” improvement was needed.
The Leeds City Council inspector found an “active cockroach infestation”, particularly in the bar area near the restaurant.
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Rotten melon was also found in the refrigerator, along with raw sheep meat that was stored right next to lettuce.
The staff’s knowledge of food safety was rated “very poor”.
The kitchen required a “thorough cleaning” and many structural issues had to be fixed, including holes in the ceiling above the bar.
The restaurant owner was instructed to conduct pest control, clean multiple surfaces, and not store cutting boards on the floor.
“That makes me proud”
Today there are no holes in the ceiling, says owner Trhas Gerezigher, 39, that all necessary pest control and improvements have been made.
The Eritrean owner said proudly of her restaurant: “I like it when people are happy. I like good service with nice music and traditional food.
(Image: Samuel Port)
“It makes me proud that I make my national food for the people.”
Trhas, who has lived in the UK for 15 years, is still having difficulty speaking and understanding the English language. Fortunately, she is surrounded by Eritrean friends who help her translate.
Regular customer and van driver Clinton Andom, 45, said: “This place is important because it shows the people of Leeds the food of our country.
“The food is healthy and delicious, that makes me proud. I showed this place to five people. I also made good African friends here.
“I come here two days a week!”
The menu offers a wide variety of East African dishes, many of which have never been heard of in Leeds. Yorkshire customers entering the dimly lit and musical eatery will be surprised to find dishes they have never seen before.
Trhas brought out a traditional African vegetarian dish called beyaynetu on a large round tray. It consists of an injera that looks like a large pancake and comes with a combination of different mixed vegetable toppings, each stacked in small piles over the flatbread.
She prepares these dishes – which also include various meat stews – in a small team with currently only one employee.
Before Trhas bought the restaurant, she worked in a warehouse and dreamed of when she could prepare traditional African dishes for the people of Leeds.
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