Browsing 'baladiya' News

Doha News

Marmara Istanbul, closed by MME

For the third time in three years, popular Turkish takeaway Marmara Istanbul has been closed by Qatari authorities for violating health regulations.

The branch in Fereej Kulaib, near TV intersection, was shut by the Ministry of Municipality and the Environment (MME) for 10 days in mid-August.

In a statement on its website, the ministry said the restaurant was trading in “harmful food contaminated with radioactive (microbes) (parasites) (pesticides)…”

The notice did not specify which of those infractions the restaurant committed.

Doha News

Marmara Istanbul, closed by MME

As of yesterday, Marmara Istanbul remained closed to the public, its doors and windows plastered with stickers from the Health Control section of the ministry.

These state: “This establishment is closed due to violating municipal laws and regulations.”

Food poisoning

This is the third time in as many years the eatery has been shut down by authorities for food violations.

In October 2014, it shut for two months after several customers – including a pregnant woman who gave birth prematurely – reported food poisoning after eating there.

At the time, the MME published photographs of the inside of the restaurant. They showed what appears to be dirty and moldy chopping boards, unclean worktops, BBQ grills blackened with caked-on food deposits and food lying around the surfaces.


An image taken by inspectors of Marmara Istanbul.

A subsequent court case found the restaurant and five of its employees guilty of selling food unfit for human consumption.

In May 2015, a misdemeanor court ordered the restaurant manager and four employees to be jailed, fined and deported, and for the establishment to close for another three months.

The restaurant closed at that time, then appealed the conviction, but lost in a verdict issued in February last year.

It was then closed again for a month to serve out the rest of the sentence.

Other closures

In the past week, another four eateries across town were also shut down by Baladiya officials for breaking hygiene and food laws.

Al Shourook Modern Bakery on Khalifa Street in Markhiya was closed by inspectors on Aug. 22 for two months. “Unhygienic conditions” were cited in documents on the MME’s website.

Doha News

Al Shorook Bakery, closed by MME

The store, near TV intersection, currently has 16 closure notices stuck across its glass facade.

And Indian-Chinese cafeterias Bye Bye Garden and Top Cornich, both in the Souq area, also ordered closed for 30 days each on Aug. 17, also for having unhygienic conditions.

Affordable Indian eatery Sky Restaurant in Musheireb was closed for the same reason on the same day for 15 days.

The closures are part of an ongoing campaign to enforce safety and hygiene standards on restaurants, grocery shops and warehouses storing food in the country.

Have you eaten at these outlets? Thoughts?

Doha News

Vox Cinema at DFC

Updated at 2pm with new statement from Vox Cinemas

Less than four months after it opened, Vox Cinemas at Doha Festival City (DFC) has temporarily closed for health violations.

The 18-screen luxury movie theater was ordered to shut last Thursday (Aug. 10) by inspectors for flouting the country’s food and hygiene laws.

The shutters are down at the entrance of the cinema complex and stickers issued by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME/Baladiya) are attached to the entrance.

Doha News

Closure notice at Vox Cinema, DFC

The notices state that the premises were closed for “violating humans’ food control,” in breach of municipal laws and regulations.

The MME usually posts details of such closures online.

But its site has not been updated with information of the cinema closure and it is unclear how long Vox will be remain shut.

Murky details

Initially, some residents wondered if the closure was due to the ongoing dispute with Qatar’s neighbors.

Vox is operated by the UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Group.

But in a statement to Doha News, Vox Cinemas said its Qatar outpost is “temporarily closed due to essential work behind the scenes to improve the cinema going experience for our guests.”

It later added:

“We are working with the Doha Festival City mall team to correct some concerns by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment that were raised in their recent inspections, and have taken immediate action to ensure that the Municipality’s requirements are exceeded at all times.

At VOX Cinemas, we are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for our guests.”

It has not responded to requests for more details.

Publicly, Vox tweeted last week that its theaters had shut due to “maintenance” issues. But this post has since been deleted.

It later posted a more general notice about its closure.

Meanwhile, a DFC spokesperson told Doha News that there was an “operational issue.”

“At Doha Festival City, ensuring our visitors’ have the best experience with us is of the utmost importance.

Hence we support our partner VOX Cinemas’ decision to temporarily close while they resolve an operational issue. We look forward to welcoming guests back soon.”

Food laws

The closure comes less than four months after Vox Cinemas opened to the public, on April 26 this year.

The multiplex has 18 screens, including theaters providing multi-sensory 4D viewing.

In addition to providing the usual cinema snacks of popcorn, chips and chocolate, Vox also has a private lounge where viewers can eat a meal with dishes created by Michelin-starred chef Gary Rhodes while they watch a movie.

It is unclear which of Qatar’s food laws Vox violated to bring officials to order its temporary closure.

MME’s authority

Inspectors from the MME regularly undertake spot checks of all food establishments across the country, from local grocery stores and warehouses to mall restaurants and five-star hotels.

They have the power to order penalty closures of between a few days to two months if they find serious breaches.

The MME typically shuts establishments if they are found to have had expired foodstuffs, are selling food unfit for consumption or have been preparing food in unhygienic conditions.


Lodz Restaurant

At least three other establishments were closed this month, according to MME’s website.

Yasrib Cafeteria, which serves affordable Indian fare in the Souq area, was closed on Aug. 9 for one month, for preparing food in unhygienic conditions.

On the same day, Indian eatery Lodz restaurants in Al Thumama was ordered to close for 10 days, also for unhygienic conditions.

Meanwhile yesterday, the butchery department at Big Bazaar hypermarket in Umm Slal Ali was shut for two weeks after inspectors found meat without an expiry date and with no information about its origins.


Ministry of Municipality and Environment

Closed Thai Smile branch at Barwa City

A branch of the popular restaurant Thai Smile has been temporarily closed by Qatar’s food inspectors for 45 days.

The eatery, which is near Lulu hypermarket in Barwa City, was one of nine shut down by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME/Baladiya) this month.

This is the second time in 18 months that the same branch of the restaurant has been closed by officials.

Shabina S. Khatri / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Last February, it was shut for a month after being found to have expired food.

Officials conducting spot-checks in mid-June found that the restaurant had flouted food safety laws.

Thai Smile will remain closed until the end of July, according to a notification in Arabic on the ministry’s website.

A photograph published on the site shows official closure stickers plastered on lights and other interior fittings of the eatery.

Food Master

Meanwhile, a cafeteria in Al Wakrah has also been shut until mid-August for having food in unhygienic conditions.

Ministry of Municipality and Environment

Closed Food Master cafeteria

Food Master, which sells affordable Indian and Chinese fare, was ordered to close for two months after inspectors visited last month.

Photographs on Baladiya’s site show moldy vegetables and a filthy freezer caked with what appears to be blood and juices from raw meat.

Ministry of Municipality and Environment

Freezers at Food Master

The 60-day closure is the toughest penalty the ministry can impose on erring establishments.

Enforcing rules

These eateries are among nine outlets that were shut by ministry officials last month for flouting the country’s food regulations.

The others were closed for between five and 20 days and have since reopened.

The closures are part of an ongoing campaign to enforce safety and hygiene standards on restaurants, grocery shops and warehouses storing food in the country.

Inspectors have spotted many violations in recent months.

In March for example, they closed Colombo restaurant in Mesaimeer after a small animal – possibly a rodent – was found in food there.


Rodent found in food at Colombo Restaurant

The MME has the power to close down establishments for up to two months and to name them on their website and in newspapers, although this is usually only done in Arabic.

Have you eaten in any of these restaurants? Thoughts?