A stalwart in Bukit Pasoh, Humpback, located in a 1930s shophouse, has undergone an exciting transformation with a revamped menu and interior. The new roster offers seafood-focused dishes blending European culinary traditions with Japanese influences, complemented by an extensive wine collection. A meal here invariably involves oysters and – reader – we couldn’t wait!
We started with Hama Hama oysters with light and clean undertones and a hint of cucumber. Each one is freshly shucked and served with its house mignonette, lemon, and a seasonal citrus. My favourite, Summerstone, was a lusciously creamy number that carried a touch of sea breeze and culminated in an unexpected, sweet aftertaste ($8 each, min 6x order). We paired them with a refreshing glass of Loire Valley Muscadet Domaine L’Ecu Classic 2020, ($19/ glass, $90/bottle).
From the Snacks and Bites section, we relished the Mussel Toast with Spicy Nduja priced at $16 for two pieces. This irresistible snack features succulent and plump Australian mussels tossed in a smoked oil, served on toasted brioche fingers and topped with vinegar gel, fennel flowers, and chives. Moving on to my personal standout, we had the House-cured Hamachi Pastrami ($18). This light yet refined starter packed in a generous serving of sliced Hamachi cured in-house with pastrami spices and then smoked with applewood; the dish is finished with smoked sour cream, pickled mustard seeds and dill sprigs.
From the Small Plates we tried the White Asparagus with Blue Crab and White Miso ($25) where chunks of lump blue crab came with shaved white asparagus, all dressed in a delicate miso-mustard dressing. The Red Prawn Tartare with Tosazu Jelly and Pomelo ($26) was delectable, featuring sweet and meaty Argentinian scampi marinated in dashi and rice wine vinegar, then combined with tomato, celery, and pomelo.
We wrapped up with the outstanding Ricotta Cavatelli with Swordfish Bacon and Chitose Corn ($28), the only pasta available. The smoky flavour of the fish bacon beautifully complements this creamy dish and was a unanimous winner among our group, not least because it was accompanied by a glass of Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Chardonnay 2020 ($26/glass; $125/bottle), a lively white burgundy with velvety notes and a long finish.
From the Large Dishes, we opted for the Marble Goby with Broccolini, Black Garlic and mussels ($52). This featured two generously sized fillets of wild-caught marble goby which were expertly pan-seared with thyme, garlic, and butter. The fish was finished with a reduction of mussel jus and brown butter, served alongside broccolini and black garlic that put a perfect finising touch on the fish.
By this point, we were fit to burst, but somehow managed to squeeze in the Toasted Castella Cake with Crème Fraîche Ice Cream and Soy Caramel ($14), a delicious combination of sweet and savoury flavours. The soy caramel provided an umami taste topped with wafer-thin flakes of snow salt for a special touch, making it an ideal finish to an excellent meal.
Verdict: Humpback’s new menu is innovative and unique. It brings a flavourful fusion of Scandinavian and Japanese essence resulting in a culinary experience where the freshness of the ingredients and sophisticated techniques deliver fantastic food. Each dish is thoughtfully crafted showcasing the chefs’ creativity and passion – a must-visit!