Robert Gilkes says he closed his Ely nightclub Barology ‘for personal reasons’ unconnected with damning council hygiene report

Barology founder Robert Gilkes. The Forehill, Ely, premises are currently closed.

Barology founder Robert Gilkes. The Forehill, Ely, premises are currently closed. - Credit: Archant

Entrepreneur Robert Gilkes insists he closed his Ely nightclub “for personal reasons” that had nothing to do with a damning report by East Cambs Council health inspectors.

Barology founder Robert Gilkes. The Forehill, Ely, premises are currently closed.

Barology founder Robert Gilkes. The Forehill, Ely, premises are currently closed. - Credit: Archant

Mr Gilkes said he had “completely finished” with Barology and was moving on to “more lucrative offers” in his career.

He said a new owner had been identified but pending assignment of the lease on the Forehill club was unable to comment further.

Asked if he felt his brief foray into the night club scene in Ely disappointed him he said “let bygones be bygones”.

He said the closure was unconnected with the council hygiene inspection as he stopped serving food.

Barology – formerly Jar Jars – was opened by Mr Gilkes last autumn but in May it was given a zero rating by East Cambs Council under their ‘scores on the doors’ ratings.

Health officials warned Mr Gilkes he needed to carry out urgent repairs if he was to continue to serve food.

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“The first two visits to your newly opened business have demonstrated a lack of compliance,” inspectors told him.

“The authority must follow its enforcement policy. Please be advised that where a food business repeatedly fails to comply with legislative requirements, the authority must refer matters to the legal department with a view to formal proceedings.

“This is a route that officers want to avoid.”

He was told there would be a return visit within three weeks to ensure all legal improvements had been made.

Inspectors reported that during a visit on May 12 they were advised the kitchen was closed following the departure 10 days earlier of a chef.

However their report noted that during their visit the oven was on ready to cook sausages left on a worktop, there was food stored in the fridges, dirty kitchen equipment was left lying around, food waste was not removed, and menus were on the bar.

The inspector said it demonstrated clearly that food handling, other than wet sales, was being carried out.

The owner was told there were no records kept of temperature controls on fridges and some food – such as cream found in a fridge – was no longer fit for consumption.

None of the foods in the fridge were date labelled, there were no safe stock rotation systems in place, and hand drying facilities were non existent at the wash basin in the kitchen.

Mr Gilkes was also advised “the kitchen requires a clear out and a thorough clean”.

Inspectors also criticised the lack of waste bins in the kitchen and the need to redecorate the ceiling which consisted of bare plaster.

They also advised the owner that he had failed to comply with an instruction following a visit in February to put in place and implement procedures for controlling hazards in his business to ensure food served to the public was safe. This included training for all kitchen and food handling staff.

He was told that all legal requirements relating to cleaning, temperature control and health and safety needed his immediate attention.

On his website Mr Gilkes highlighted the use of local produce in the tapas selection sold there.

“Wherever possible, our produce is sourced locally, and prepared fresh every day, by our trained, passionate chefs,” he wrote

“Nothing frozen is used in any of our dishes; we don’t even have a freezer.”

He added: “I’ve managed this project myself from acquisition of the derelict venue, through the renovation, on to day to day running of the business.”