'Our restaurants have high standards', says Balady owner after JW3 closure

The chain has insisted it maintains 'strict' hygiene standards at all its locations


The operator of JW3’s onsite restaurant has hit back at the cultural centre after being shut down abruptly due to hygiene reasons last week.

Middle Eastern restaurant Baladyt opened at JW3 at the start of the year but when food hygiene inspectors visited the premises in May they gave the business a rating of just one out of five, declaring “major improvement” was required.

To the community’s surprise, JW3 closed Baladyt last Thursday with immediate effect, and removed information about its partnership with the restaurant from its website. But the “shocked” restaurant operator that ran Baladyt has objected to the move, arguing it maintains “high standards of cleaning and hygiene” and suggesting it was caught off guard by the decision.

Announcing the closure, JW3 revealed that, in the months after the Camden council-led inspection, a follow-up visit showed the restaurant was “not offering [customers] the level of quality” expected.

In a statement, the cultural hub said: “During the trial period with our new food partner Baladyt, we became aware of a very disappointing food hygiene rating by Camden council… We immediately began discussions with the Baladyt management to ensure each of the issues raised by Camden council were swiftly remedied. Giving time for necessary improvements to be made, we also took the additional step of arranging an independent inspection.

“Following the second inspection report, it was clear that Baladyt was not offering the level of quality that is acceptable from our food partner…As a result, Baladyt at JW3 has closed.”

The centre said it was now seeking a new catering partner.

A spokesman for Balady, which ran Baladyt and continues to operate several other restaurants under the company name, has insisted its premises are hygienic, however, and expressed disappointment that JW3 prematurely pulled the plug on their partnership.

“We find it sad that JW3 decided to act in this manner,” the spokesman said.

“We wished to leave in May after the [council] report criticised the facilities as well [as food hygiene and kitchen cleanliness] and we were asked by the management of JW3 to stay and extend the contract until January 2024.

“We were shocked to be asked to close with immediate effect last Thursday afternoon,” the spokesman continued.

He said the group’s other restaurants “have very good or excellent hygiene ratings” and maintain “strict standards” with “high-quality fresh food and high standards of cleaning and hygiene”, adding: “Balady is happy to continue to serve the community and [wishes] everyone a Shana Tova U’Metuka.”

Balady’s other London restaurants have been awarded food hygiene ratings of four and five out of five, according to the most recent data available from Camden council.

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