Calling the hip neighbourhood of Star Street its home, Oolaa Petite is the sister branch of Sheung Wan’s Oolaa and offers an intimate and laid-back setting where you can relax with an ice cold beer. Situated opposite Pacific Place 3, Oolaa is a destination for many locals thanks to its quiet location away from the crowded streets of Wan Chai, its lively atmosphere and its attractive happy hour deals. Here, you can enjoy a brilliant pint of Stella Artois for $40 every weekday between 3pm-8pm and 5pm-8pm on weekends.
But the Stella Artois here is no ordinary pour. Here, Hongkongers can witness Stella’s – the world’s best-selling Belgian beer – signature four-step pouring ritual first-hand and savour a perfectly-poured pint. If you’re not familiar with the four steps, they are: inspect, where the bartender holds the Stella Artois chalice up to the light to check that it’s pristine; pour, the simple-yet-precise method of filling the glass at a 45 degrees angle; skim, slicing away any excess foam with a knife; and present, serving the customer their pint on a coaster with the logo facing forward.
See the Stella Artois four-step ritual up close at the Oolaa Petite bar
That’s not all. More than 45 local bars and restaurants have entered the Stella Artois Draught Masters competition where each bartender is judged on how well they execute the four-step ritual. Oolaa Petite decided to throw their hat in the ring after making Stella Artois one of their regular draught beers. “We first learned about it a year ago,” says Raj Gurung, Oolaa Petite’s resident bartender. “We didn’t originally have any plans to apply for the campaign. It was just something we thought that as a group would be a good challenge and experience.”
Now down to five finalists, including Gurung himself, the participants have to be ready at any moment since designated ‘mystery shoppers’ from Stella Artois are making anonymous visits to sample a pint without warning. What that also means is that every customer is served with a draught poured to the highest standards – an aspect that is critical to Gurung himself. “Draught quality is important because the first sip is golden”, he states. “Everybody can appreciate a well-poured pint.”
Gurung treats every step of the four-step ritual with the utmost attention from the foam ratio – ‘approximately two fingers, equal to 3cm of thickness’ – to the kind of quality control that only an experienced local bartender would know. “Being in Hong Kong, you need to deal with the heat and humidity of the city,” Gurung explains. “Controlling the temperature of the chalice and beer itself is just as important under these conditions.”
Order up Oolaa Petite’s Mussels and Frites ($195) with a Stella Artois
Of course, what’s a Stella without the perfect dish to pair with it? “The mussels and frites would be my recommendation; it’s a favourite of mine,” says Gurung. “The slight bitterness of the lager and the flavours of the dish go together very well, and can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner.”
So look no further for your chance to savour a perfect Stella Artois and witness a potential Draught Master winner in action. Gurung is keeping it humble, though, saying: “I’m still perfecting it. It’s an ongoing challenge every day.”