Friday, June 9, 2023

Humpback @ Bukit Pasoh - A Refreshed Space With A New Menu


After two months of renovation, Humpback, the modern seafood restaurant and wine bar at Bukit Pasoh, has reopened with a refreshed space and a new menu. In line with the restaurant's commitment to transparency in its food sourcing chain, the menu is ingredient-focused, with the country of origin informed. Dishes are executed using European culinary techniques with Japanese influences, showcasing the best seafood of the season.


Humpback's signature oyster bar has remained the star of the restaurant ever since its opening in 2015. You can find a seasonal roster of oysters from the Pacific Northwest that is shucked upon order. It showcases seasonal oysters sourced from the Pacific Northwest - Hama Hama Oyster Company, a sixth-generation family-run oyster farm in Washington State in the US. We tried all three varieties, each with its distinctiveness - clean and crisp Hama Hama, briny and sweet Summerstone, as well as an earthy sweet Blue Pool. All oysters ($8/pc, minimum six per order) are served on the half shell on ice with Humpback's house sweet-tangy mignonette, lemon and seasonal citrus.

Hamachi Pastrami 4/5

The menu is organised into Snacks and Bites, Small Plates, Large Plates and Desserts. From Snacks and Bites, we had Chef Alynna Tan's elegant portrayal of fish charcuterie - House-cured Hamachi Pastrami ($18) that is smoked with apple wood, served with thinly sliced pickled Japanese cucumber and sourdough baguette crisps. They were savoury with pastrami spices laced with a hint of smoky aroma. Each slice had a delectable meaty texture, further enriched with dots of smoked sour cream.

Buckwheat Bread with Yuzu Butter 3.5/5

While they were great with the crunchy baguette crisps, I took the liberty to have it together with the Buckwheat Bread with Yuzu Butter ($13), and the combination of the toasty bread with the luscious pastrami was equally delicious. The accompanying citrusy yuzu butter is salted with smoked salt, which works well with the deep nuttiness of the bread.

Mussel Toast 4.8/5

My favourite snack would be this Mussel Toast with Spicy Nduja ($16, two pieces). I love its mouth-filling texture accompanied by a hefty punch of flavours, which will whet your appetite too. The buttery toasted brioche fingers were airy with a crusty exterior, slathered with rich, sweet-spicy nduja that allowed it to bind with the plump Australian mussels atop. Bringing the toast close to my nose teased my senses, an elusive layer of smokey notes imparted from the mussels that had been tossed in a smoked oil.

White Asparagus with Blue Crab and White Miso 4/5

Red Prawn Tartare 4.5/5

From Small Plates, we had two cold dishes that celebrate the fresh flavours of Spring. Humpback's rendition of a cold crab salad, White Asparagus with Blue Crab and White Miso ($25), features chunks of lump blue crab from Indonesia alongside shaved white asparagus, dressed lightly with a contrasting miso-mustard dressing, followed by fresh horseradish and olive oil. While the execution brought out both ingredients' delicate and subtle flavours, it didn't excite me as much when placed amongst others on the menu. On the other hand, Red Prawn Tartare with Tosazu jelly and Pomelo ($26) stood out with Argentinian scampi that was succulent and sweet with a meaty bite. Marinated in dashi and rice wine vinegar, their sweetness came through even more.

Purple Clams with Toasted Koji and Green Asparagus 4.8/5

Among the hot selections, Purple Clams with Toasted Koji and Green Asparagus ($31) is a winner. Inspired by local milky fish soup, sweet purple clams from Hama Hama Oyster Company are simmered in sake, mirin and toasted koji cream, enlivened with Dill oil and chilli oil. The broth was milky sweet, aromatic with a whiff, liven up the dish, while asparagus chunks lend texture.

Ricotta Cavatelli 4.5/5

Ricotta Cavatelli with Swordfish Bacon and Chitose Corn ($28) is Humpback's sole pasta offering, and it is a solid one. Handmade cavatelli is tossed in corn stock with oyster mushrooms and Chitose corn from Malaysia. And what brought out the sweetness of the corn, besides the sharp cheese, were the chunks of swordfish belly bacon cured in juniper, thyme, star anise and bay leaf. These smoky fish bacon not only impart that mouthwatering savoury flavour to the pasta akin to typical bacon, but they also add little nuggets of creaminess into the dish.

Marble Goby 4.5/5

Of the Large Plates, what's highly recommend is the Marble Goby ($52). Wild-caught marble goby from Tembilahan River in Sumatra, Indonesia, is filleted and pan-seared with thyme and brown butter, served with a reduction of mussel jus and butter, as well as a dollop of sweet-tangy black garlic and shallot puree. I love the idea of blending black garlic into black garlic and shallot puree, as that mellows the intensity of it, allowing it to complement the fish without overpowering the dish. The accompanying juicy Australian mussels cooked in sake gave the dish an additional bite and flavour.

Toasted Castella Cake 4.5/5

Our dessert was a very comforting Toasted Castella Cake with Crème Fraîche Ice Cream and Soy Caramel ($14), conceived by Chef Alynna out of her food memory of a toasted angel food cake dessert in San Francisco. It's a very well-considered plate of dessert with balanced flavours. Evident in the chosen ingredients - you have the warm and indulging sweetness from the light and airy toasted Japanese-style castella cake, contrasted with a scoop of cold, mildly acidic crème fraîche ice cream, finished with a drizzle of umami soy caramel and a layer of saltish snow salt flakes that counterbalanced the overall sweetness of the dish.

Promotions/Special Nights - Oyster Happy Hour: Enjoy oysters at half price all day every Monday at Humpback Oysters at $4++ per piece (minimum 6 pieces per order) on Mondays and public holidays From opening to 6.30pm on other days of the week

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

20 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore 089834
Tel: +65 97729896
Nearest MRT: Outram Park (EW, NE, TE Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon - Fri: 5pm - 11pm
Sat: 12pm - 11pm
Sun: 12pm - 9pm

1) Alight at Outram Park MRT station. Take Exit 4. Turn right and walk down Teo Hong Road. Continue left onto Bukit Pasoh  Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

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