A popular café in Newport has been given a low food hygiene rating despite high TripAdvisor and social media reviews, leaving owner devastated.

The Vanilla Pod Coffee Bar, located on Lakeside Drive off Cardiff Road, was given a food hygiene rating of 1* on February 13, 2024. This was a shock for Kelly, the owner, who has previously had two 5* food hygiene ratings by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Kelly Melmouth, 46, said she was "absolutely devastated, really upset".

South Wales Argus: The owner said she was absolutely devastated by the rating.The owner said she was absolutely devastated by the rating. (Image: Google Maps)

"I was really, really upset because that is not a reflection on how I run my business at all." 

Ms Melmouth explains that her customers are "returning customers, they come in at least two, three, four times a week."

Food Hygiene Rating

The Vanilla Pod Coffee Bar was awarded a 1* food hygiene rating, stating major improvement is necessary.

Hygienic food handling and cleanliness and condition of facilities and building were both given 'generally satisfactory' ratings.

The café dropped in rating for the management of food safety, which the food officer labelled 'major improvement necessary'.

South Wales Argus: The café was given a 1* food hygiene rating in the last inspection in February 2024.The café was given a 1* food hygiene rating in the last inspection in February 2024. (Image: Food Standards Agency)

Reacting to this, Ms Melmouth said: "If it was because of horrendous food poisoning or something, I would get that. But my god, it was literally a case of updating my folder and my paperwork and that is it, you know? An administration issue, really."

The Vanilla Pod Coffee Bar is waiting to be rescored with a new inspection taking place within 3 months.

A spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency said: "The Vanilla Pod have not appealed their rating

"They have applied and paid for a rescore. This new inspection will take place within 3 months of the payment date."

Customer rating

Customers on TripAdvisor have said The Vanilla Pod Coffee Bar is: "Best café in the area" and it has "a warm, cosy, clean feel about the place". On TripAdvisor, the café is rated 4.5 out of 5.

The café in Coedkernew has been given a 4.8 on Facebook reviews.


2 Lakeside Drive
South Wales
NP10 8BB

Background information

Food hygiene ratings are a vital component of ensuring the safety and quality of food establishments in the United Kingdom. These ratings, prominently displayed in windows and available online, provide consumers with essential information about the hygiene standards of restaurants, cafes, and canteens across the country. In the UK, food hygiene ratings are determined through rigorous inspections conducted by local authorities. Trained food safety officers visit establishments unannounced, evaluating various aspects such as food handling, cleanliness, and management practices. Based on their findings, establishments are assigned a rating ranging from 0 (in need of urgent improvement) to 5 (very good). These ratings hold significant importance for consumers. They enable individuals to make informed decisions when choosing where to dine, ensuring they select establishments that adhere to high standards of hygiene. A higher rating indicates that the establishment has demonstrated excellent practices in areas such as food preparation, storage, and cleanliness, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses and promoting public health.