OXFORD'S Randolph Hotel is back on top form after being hit with food poisoning allegations and a damning hygiene report last year that criticised the 'unacceptable' cleanliness of its kitchens.

The historic hotel was visited by Oxford City Council’s health team in November after a customer who ate a mackerel arancini – a stuffed rice ball – and hake with green vegetables complained of feeling unwell after the meal.

A surprise visit to the five-star hotel’s kitchens, which cater for its Acanthus restaurant, resulted in the business being given a two-star rating, which means ‘improvement necessary’.

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Last week the city centre hotel was revisited by the authority and awarded in the Beaumont Street business being given a top score of five stars.

It is the highest rating the Randolph has received since 2015, with it's two subsequent inspections prior to the November rating four stars. A spokesperson for the hotel said: “We are pleased to achieve the standard which everyone expects from Macdonald Randolph Hotel.

"This is credit to the hard work and dedication of our staff.”

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There were a litany of issues raised when the council's health team visited last year.

Causes of concern found in relation to the food poisoning allegation included a ‘defective’ wash basin where the arancini starter was made, as well as issues with the lack of temperature records for how the rice was cooled.

Other problems included a risk of contamination from the vacuum packing used to store the hake and a generally ‘unacceptable’ level of cleanliness throughout.

A report after this unscheduled visit stated: "The standard of cleaning throughout the kitchen was unacceptable."

It referred to an "accumulation of food, debris, grease evident beneath equipment."

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On the condition of floor surfaces, it added: "Throughout the kitchen and in particular beneath equipment such as refrigerators, work tables, cookers etc, were in a filthy condition."

The inspectors also expressed concern about the use of vacuum packing machines, explaining: "One chef said cooked prawns had been vacuum packed using the 'raw' only machine. Review use and ensure staff training."

A spokesman at the time said the hotel was ‘very disappointed’ by the report and had ‘already actioned’ all recommendations ahead of a new inspection.

The Randolph is currently undergoing a £1.5m project to repair stonework at the hotel and last year unveiled an a £100,000 refurbishment of its ballroom.