An award-winning dumpling house that stored edibles in a toilet area and prepared food in a garden shed has upped its game and earned itself an A food grade.
Less than a month after the Herald revealed Barilla Dumpling on Dominion Rd was one of 29 central Auckland eateries operating with a D grading, the popular restaurant has achieved the highest hygiene standard - an A grade.
A spokesman for the family business, Peng Li, told the Herald that food safety was now a priority.
"We just fixed everything that we did before," he said. "We've got to make sure we keep it like that."
The low grading came as a shock to its large clientele, especially as it was last year named in the top 10 on Metro's Best Cheap Eats list and rated best Chinese takeaway in Viva's Best Takeout awards.
The eatery is popular with celebrities, with endorsements by chef Al Brown, comedian and food blogger Jesse Mulligan and musician Tama Waipara.
Some customers had been deterred by coverage of the low rating, but were slowly returning since the regrading, said Mr Li. "Some customers say we are better than before."
Business had slowed "a little bit" last month. "But people still like our food so they're still coming."
He expected patronage to pick up again. "It should be a week or something like that. When we had a D they don't [come] but we have A now so maybe they come again."
Food grades are issued according to Auckland Council's criteria under its Food Hygiene Regulations. Those criteria include overall standards, cleaning and sanitising, and staff training.
Barilla joined 28 others to hold a D grade in the old Auckland City boundaries after an inspection in May.