Exclusive club 'littered with mouse droppings'

Emma Woollacott
Barclaycard Mercury Prize
Barclaycard Mercury Prize

The Hospital Club, set up by Eurythmics star Dave Stewart and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, describes itself as "a creative hub in the heart of London offering the creative community the environment and facilities they need to create, connect and collaborate".

But it seems that there's one feature of the exclusive private members' club that won't be highlighted on the website: a generous helping of mouse droppings.

The club has been the venue for gigs by The Who, Bastille and Johnny Marr, and hosts film previews, industry networking evenings and a book club, as well as supper clubs and chef masterclasses.

However, according to the Daily Mail, Camden Council inspectors awarded the club a 'zero' rating earlier this year, due to 23 food hygiene failings. These included mouse droppings around ovens, behind containers and equipment and even inside the vent of an ice cream machine.

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'Health risk'

Other examples of poor hygiene included the use of the same vacuum packing machine for both raw and cooked meals - risking cross-contamination - and the storage of food on a freezer floor.

Fruit in the bar area appeared to be unwashed, and a hand basin didn't have soap or drying facilities.

Perhaps it's the artistic temperament that left the club's managers unable to maintain hygiene. It's certainly not lack of funds: with members paying an annual subscription of £800 each, it made a £16.8 million profit last year.

'Just a blip'

The club says that the poor rating was simply a blip. "The Hospital Club prides itself on the quality of its food offering and received food hygiene ratings of four in 2012 and five in 2013," a spokesperson told the Mail.

"We were disappointed to receive a reduced rating in 2014 and took immediate and significant remedial action to address all points as a matter of urgent priority."

She added that the club was about to be reassessed, and said she expected it to pass with flying colours.

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Not the first time

You might think that such smart venues would provide a greater level of cleanliness and hygiene than your average greasy spoon. However, many of the country's poshest restaurants have also been slapped with poor ratings in the past.

In March, for example, Marco Pierre White's Steakhouse in the Cube in Birmingham was marked 'zero' by the Food Standards Agency over concerns about whether it was coping adequately with the number of customers. Two other top-end restaurants in the city - Malmaison and Chaophraya - fared equally badly at around the same time.

Restaurants are monitored by their local councils for food hygiene. Premises are given a rating of between zero and five, based on how food is prepared, cooked and stored, as well as the cleanliness and condition of the building and the hygiene processes followed.

The results are collated by the Food Standards Agency - so if you're planning on eating out tonight and are feeling a little queasy, you can check your restaurant's rating here.

Read more about food hygiene on AOL Money:

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