Art Café rebuts allegations of pests in the kitchen

Art Café denied experiencing hygiene issues, in response to an article revealing that rodent activity and unsanitary conditions were discovered at the café in a November inspection.

Art Café, located in Oxford’s city centre, is one of the most frequented eateries in the city. The Oxford Mail obtained an inspection report and claimed that the November inspection found mouse droppings and flies in the kitchen and servery, in addition to issues related to inappropriate food storage temperature. 

“Appropriate treatment methods must be used to eliminate these pets,” the article quoted the report. It is unclear whether the word “pets,” referring to the mice and flies, was misspelled.

Art Café rebutted cleanliness allegations in a comment under a Facebook post by the Oxford Mail. The comment accused Oxford Mail of using “outdated information to gain readers’ attention without consulting us [Arts Café] first.”

“We have taken all actions towards this problem and have been 100% pest free since December of 2023,” the café wrote. “We have been in contact with the city council and have sent all proof of improvement, we are just waiting on a second visit.”

The café also pointed out that the inspection took place at a time when “the city centre as a whole was experiencing problems.” 

Last November, Art Café received from the Food Standards Agency a food hygiene rating of two out of five, along with Peloton Espresso on Cowley Road. Chutneys Indian Brasserie at 36 St Michael’s Street was rated zero last October. A score of two means that improvement is necessary, whereas a score of zero demands “urgent improvement,” according to the Oxford City Council.

Several Facebook users voiced continued support for Art Café. More than 180 upvoted the café’s comment.

“Your loyal customers know that you guys are amazing!” one user wrote. “[W]hen there are problems, there are always solutions.”

However, some customers remain sceptical about Art Café’s conditions.

“The art cafe has been my favourite restaurant in Oxford since I arrived in the city,” said Olly DeHerrera, a Museum Anthropology Masters student at Wolfson College. “Hopefully they have sorted out the hygiene issues; it definitely has put me off visiting.”

Image credit: Valida Pau

Image description: Art Café in Oxford city centre