TALKS have taken place after food hygiene inspectors awarded one of Wales’s most critically acclaimed restaurants a 1 star hygiene rating leaving its owners “devastated”.

Hang Fire Southern Kitchen owners Shauna Guinn and Sam Evans said they had been attacked on social media and verbally abused in the street after reports of their American style eaterie's rating were publicised.

The restaurant, in The Pumphouse, Hood Road, consistently gains rave reviews on sites like Trip Advisor and is most often fully-booked.

Inspectors noted the business’ hygienic food handling to be “generally satisfactory”; and the cleanliness and condition of facilities and building to be “good”, but it ruled “major improvement necessary” with regard to management of food safety.

Hang Fire told the Barry & District News that they could not understand how a “3” rating could be dropped to a “1” - after they had appealed and no return visit had made.

Readers took to the Barry & District News Facebook site to pledge support for the business.

Commenting on the newspaper report, Phill Sedgmond said: “The only “1” this restaurant should have is the first class one” while Sue Eldridge said: “It’s a fantastic business.”

Sarah Watts added: “We’ve been there five times and it’s been great, the food has always been cooked to perfection, the place looks great the staff are lovely. This rubbish wouldn’t put me off going there again, and if they have a 1 then I’m pretty sure most other places in Barry are in the minuses. The scoring is daft. More about paperwork than actual hygiene.”

Co-owner, Ms Guinn said: “We had a very productive meeting with the team manager who assessed our appeal, and the head of shared regulatory services. The council have clearly demonstrated a willingness to work proactively with us to resolve the situation swiftly. We are hoping to have a re-rating visit in the next week or so.

“The outpouring of kind words and support from our customers, and indeed the whole town of Barry has been overwhelming.

“Hang Fire customers are incredibly loyal, and we couldn’t have got through the last few weeks without their support.”

A Vale council spokesman said: “A series of productive discussions between the council and the business owners have taken place and these talks are set to continue.

"There has been a strong commitment to addressing the issues identified and we hope a retesting can take place in the near future.”