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#BarStar with Ichu’s Massimo Petovello

One of Hong Kong’s coolest bartenders spills his insider secrets

Massimo Petovello is an award-winning mixologist who has spent the last ten years honing his craft. Today, he brings his decade of experience to the incredible bar at Ichu, where he runs daily operations and creative direction for their beverage programme.

ICHU is the collaboration between famed chef Virgilio Martinez and Bulldozer Group, with an interior designed by Joyce Wang. The restaurant is a celebration of Peru’s diversity and geography, reflecting the nation’s changing altitudes and cultures. The Italian-born Massimo has worked at some of the world’s top spots, and spent four years as the Head Bartender of Aqua Restaurant Group. He was even nominated as a finalist in the prestigious Diageo Reserve World Class 2013 (London).

We spoke to the master of mixing about his career, and the menu at Ichu. Read on to find out what you need to order and what he loves most about his bar. 

How long have you worked at ICHU?

Since the opening, time flies! It’s already been one very successful year.

What do you love most about the bar programme?

The bar programme at ICHU is quite complex and full of different homemade infusion or maceration. A well and organised preparation is needed before the service hours to provide a consistent service.

What inspired you to be a bartender?

I was 16 years old and I was fascinated by a bartender from my hometown— he could change your day just with his service! A charming, funny man, but he could switch to very serious and deep conversation when needed. What a bartender!

How long have you been a bartender?

Since I was 18! I have never stopped searching, learning and enjoying it.

What’s the bar menu like at ICHU?

The cocktail menu is inspired from the three different regions of Peru: the coast, the mountains and the Amazon.

What’s a must-order drink at ICHU?

ICHU Pisco Sour is the most popular cocktail, made with saffron pisco, lime, corn and eucalyptus.

Do you have a favourite drink to make?

I like making classic cocktails from a forgotten “dusty” book and understand how to apply them to our modern palate.

What’s the best piece of work advice you’ve ever received?

Best advice I received was not about a new technique, or how to use some product, but rather it was about understanding the basics of bartending philosophy: be humble!

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you at work?

We had Elton John live at the bar for a private event. This was one of the craziest things I have ever seen!

3/F H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road, Central

All photos are the rights of their respective owners

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