Food Review: Humpback At Bukit Pasoh Road | New Look & Menu For The Modern Seafood Restaurant & Wine Bar   

The Place An eight years old restaurant in Bukit Pasoh Road has been given a new lease of life. I checked out Humpback (part of the Jigger & Pony Group) which reopened last month after a two months revamp for its space and menu. The 63-seater restaurant sits in a 1930s conservation shophouse with a relaxed dining vibes. At the front of the restaurant is the raw bar counter and wine bar, while the dining space is ideally designed for couples or small dining groups up to five or six persons with cosy booths and banquette seats. I also like the the neutral colour tone of the interior.

The Food The concept of Humpback is now a modern seafood restaurant and wine bar where the dishes are prepared with European culinary techniques with Japanese influences. 

Starting the meal with oysters is customary here, with its strong oyster menu featuring a seasonal roster of oysters from the Pacific Northwest that is shucked upon order. The oysters are from Hama Hama Oyster Company, a sixth-generation family-run oyster farm in Washington State in the US, where the menu has three varieties of oysters with different flavour profiles. I tried the eponymous Hama Hama which is clean and crisp on the palate with a hint of cucumber; Eld Inlet, as well as Summerstone which spots a briny upfront and sweet taste on the finish.

All oysters (S$8 each, minimum six per order) are served on the half shell on ice with Humpback’s house mignonette that is sweet-tangy with chardonnay vinegar and rice vinegar, as well as lemon and a seasonal citrus. 

The rest of the menu is organised into Snacks and Bites, Small Plates, Large Plates and Desserts. I started with the House-cured Hamachi Pastrami (S$18), Chef Alynna Tan’s elegant iteration of fish charcuterie. The Hamachi or yellowtail belly is cured in pastrami spices then smoked with apple wood and finished with dots of smoked sour cream, pickled mustard seeds and dill sprigs. I love the refreshing flavours of the hamachi and the accompanying thinly sliced Japanese cucumber macerated in champagne vinegar and caraway seeds is delicious too. Have it along with the crunchy sourdough baguette crisps. 

For a punchier snack, I highly recommend the Mussel Toast with Spicy Nduja (S$16, two pieces), one of my favourite dishes on the new menu. Topped dehydrated chives and tomatoes, I love the juicy Australian mussels tossed in smoked oil, where I like the crispy texture of the toasted brioche and the nduja sauce adds that nice kick of extra flavour. 

The Small Plates section is a mix of cold and warm dishes. Go for the Red Prawn Tartare with Tosazu Jelly and Pomelo (S$26) which features sweet, meaty Argentinian scampi marinated in dashi and rice wine vinegar. Another refreshing and light dish on the menu, with accompanying ingredients like tomato, celery, and pomelo. 

The White Asparagus with Blue Crab and White Miso ($25) is a chilled crab salad where you get chunks of lump blue crab from Indonesia paired with shaved white asparagus in a subtle miso-mustard dressing, and finished with fresh horseradish and olive oil. Overall, the flavour is very light which brings out the freshness of the blue crab. 

If you love clams, then the Purple Clams with Toasted Koji and Green Asparagus (S$31) is a must order. That creamy wine broth sauce is the best bit of the dish for me, perfect with the sweet purple clams from Hama Hama Oyster Company. I found myself drinking every sip of the broth, which is a divine combination of sake, mirin and toasted koji (rice yeast) cream. 

For a heavier flavour, the creamy Ricotta Cavatelli with Swordfish Bacon and Chitose Corn (S$28), is the only pasta on the menu where the handmade cavatelli – elongated pasta shells with a middle groove – are tossed in corn stock with oyster mushrooms and Chitose corn from Malaysia. The lovely bits here are the chunks of swordfish belly bacon. 

From the Large Plates, I had the Marble Goby with Broccolini, Black Garlic and Mussels (S$52). Wild-caught marble goby from Tembilahan River in Sumatra, Indonesia. The pan-seared goby spots a crispy texture and a slightly buttery flavour. Have the fish with the delish sweet black garlic and shallot purée by the side, along with accompanying sides like roasted broccolini and Australian mussels cooked in sake. 

For Dessert, I had the Toasted Castella Cake with Crème Fraîche Ice Cream and Soy Caramel (S$14) which is inspired by Chef Alynna’s food memory of a toasted angel food cake dessert in San Francisco. This version features a toasted Japanese-style castella cake with crème fraîche ice cream, soy caramel, and topped with snow salt for savouriness. 

For beverages, the wine list boasts a wide variety with over 60 labels. 

Rants Nothing in particular.

Will I Return Again? I had a pleasant dining experience at Humpback where the dishes I had are generally light and refreshing in flavours. I like the slight Japanese touches to the dishes, and this is a great dining space ideal for an intimate group size. Good wine and seafood-centric dishes, so why not?

This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.

TheRantingPanda says:
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 
Overall Experience: 

18-20 Bukit Pasoh Road 
Singapore 089834 
Tel: +65 9772 9896 

Opening Hours 
Monday to Friday: 5pm to 11pm 
Saturday: 12pm to 11pm 
Sunday: 12pm to 9pm 
Closed on Tuesday 

Ranted by The Ranter

About theRantingPanda (2056 Articles)
of blacks and whites and everything else | singapore | food reviews, lifestyle & travel

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