Nice Oysters. Mean Cocktails.
Humpback is a new restaurant endeavor brought to you by the owners of Jigger & Pony and Sugar Hall. Humpback brings patrons fresh Pacific Northwest oysters, artisanal small plates and some mad cocktails, all to the tune of 80’s and 90’s classic rock music.
The idea for Humpback was born when owners Indra Kantono and Gan Guoyi took an innocent holiday to Washington state and made a stop at the Hama Hama oyster farm. The two were instantly hooked on the fresh crisp taste that Pacific Northwest oysters get from the nearby glacial waters. They knew right then and there they had to bring the taste back with them to Singapore.
The interior of the restaurant is rather narrow and is dominated by a long curved wooden bar with glossy white and yellow stools. While the bar counter is nice for a casual date night, on both sides of the space you will find a scattering of hightop tables suitable for groups of four.
Humpback also offers a few candle-lit al fresco tables if you would like to relax while taking in the indie spirit of Bukit Pasoh Road.
Although the main draw at Humpback is the oysters, the specialty cocktails come in at a close second. The barkeeps from familiar Jigger & Pony and Sugar Hall, have made their way over to Humpback to mix up 12 white spirits-based cocktails, each of them carefully crafted with seafood in mind.
Before the arrival of our meal we sipped on the Watermelon Sangria and Bugs Bunny speciality cocktails (all cocktails $22.00). Although the price is pretty steep, these cocktails pack a serious punch. The watermelon sangria is made with both gin and prosecco, therefore instantly becoming a favorite of mine. One can tell these babies are made with love.
On the more innocent end of the sprectrum, I opted for the Pineapple & Pepper House Soda ($8.00). Fruits are infused with natural flavors overnight and mixed with soda when ready. This time and effort gives the soda a genuine, mild flavor that is not too overwhelming.
Outside of spirits and sodas, Humpback has a generous selection of carefully curated white, red and sparkeling wines, as well as champagne to choose from.
The food menu at Humpback is separated into sections: Oysters, Snacks, Garden, Seafood, Meat and Dessert. The restaurant suggests 5-7 small plates will leave two people plenty satisfied and encourages tasting something from each department.
The Roquefort Blue ($12.00) was a lovely way to kick things off. A soft, generous slice of roquefort blue cheese is paired with a pool of honey and a slice of warm toasted bread topped with oil and sea salt.
Sticking with the snacks menu (although carrots technically come from a garden), we sampled the Carrots ($8.00). The carrots have a strong pickled taste and texture and are laid on a sizable dollop of tahini yogurt and given a pinch of cumin salt for added spice.
I enjoyed the carrots much more than I anticipated. The strong flavor of the pickling process was nicely balanced by the yogurt.
Executive Chef Polo Seah aims to take standard produce and give it an unexpected, yet subtle flare. Many of the dishes come with a unique twist or ingredient, but I appreciate how it’s done in a reasonable, not trying too hard kind of way.
The Clam Dip ($10.00) had our table divided. Ones love for this dish is obviously correlated to ones love of clams. This snack dish is created by first cooking the clams inside of their shell. The flesh is then removed, finely chopped, mixed with cream cheese and topped with a dusting of paprika. I was not keen on the clammy taste, while others were left eating the dip with a spoon.
Moving on to the Garden menu, we sampled the Kale Salad ($14.00). This is a dish I would not skip while at Humpback. The bottom portion of the salad mixes fresh kale leaves with a buttermilk dressing and pecan nuts, while at the top you will be treated to crispy fried kale chips and slices of pickled pears.
This dish is full on taste and generous in size – great for sharing.
The Fig & Beetroot Salad ($15.00) is made with tender figs, thick squares of beets and orange slices and mixed together with ash cheese and candied walnuts. This salad had a nice fresh juicy flavor from all the fruit. It’s hard to say which I preferred between the kale and beetroot salad. I might suggest you order both – it’s a salad after all!
On to the main attraction. Humpback offers 3-4 types of oysters (all hailing from Washington state) with the menu changing almost daily, depending stock and availability. Humpback strategically aims to keep the section of oysters limited in order to ensure they are providing customers with freshest oysters possible.
During our visit to Humpback there were three types of oysters available: The Kuma Moto, Shigoku Fat Bastard and Totten Inlet ($6.00 – $7.00 / per oyster).
The Kuma Moto had a briny beginning with a sweetness on the backend. This oyster is slightly smaller in size and had a nice balanced flavor making it the crowd favorite.
The Fat Bastard had a much stronger flavor as compared to the Kuma Moto and more chewy texture. Although very fresh, the salt water and fishy taste is more palpable in this oyster.
The Totten Inlet variety had a strong savory taste and soft texture, albeit slightly more grainy than the others. Overall, all the oysters were clean, fresh and satisfying.
Still hungry? If you are not totally indulging in oysters and want to try some additional small plates, try the Cabbage ($10.00). While cabbage is usually not the most popular kid at school, the welcome addition of char grill flavor, herb cream cheese, fried quinoa and chili oil take this dish from zero to hero. A pleasant surprise.
Humpback also offers up Rainbow Trout ($16.00) – sous-vide style. The fish is topped with a spoonful of egg yolk and almond milk sauce and just a few pickled mustard seeds for added taste.
Call me crazy, but I am generally not a fan of sous-vide fish, but this trout was expertly prepared and didn’t have an overpowering ‘fishy’ taste. Spotting this dish on many other tables shows we were not the only ones who agreed it was good.
Humpback’s Calamari ($14.00) comes atop a bed of mashed potatoes and surrounded by a moat of ‘crazy water’ (a very light and flavorful Italian tomato broth). This is another dish I strongly suggest you order at Humpbacks. The batter was crispy and the squid was not too rubbery. The potatoes and sauce were an excellent and filling addition.
Next we sampled the Prawns ($20.00). The prawns are served with cerignola olives on a bed of soft fennel. I was not overly keen on taste of the sauce covering the dish, but the fried and dehydrated prawn skins were a nice twist. Personally, I would suggest the trout or calamari over this particular seafood order.
Now, dessert. There are only two dessert offerings at Humpback and we gave them both a try.
The Valrhona Chocolate Mousse ($8.00) is small in size, but has a strong, rich chocolate flavor and thick texture. The berries compote and fresh cream were served cold, which nicely complimented the boldness of the mousse.
The Fernet Panna Cotta ($8.00) has strong notes of cocoa, bitter orange and amaro liquor. For me, this dish was far too bitter and alcoholic tasting. While the panna cotta itself was nice, the strong medicinal flavor was far too overpowering to properly enjoy.
Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Humpback. The oysters, although a pretty pricy if you are looking to fill up on them, were clean and fresh and the food items were well thought out and executed.
Due to the menu variations and cost, I am more-so inclined to return to Humpback to share a plate of oysters, salads and cocktails with a group of girlfriends rather than my ravenous husband, but in any company I enjoyed the atmosphere and general vibe found at Humpback.
If you are keen to fill up on Washington oysters at a lower price, check out Humpback during Happy Hour, Monday to Saturday from 5:00pm-7:00pm. Oysters are $2.00 – $3.oo each and cocktails and wine are also at a discounted price. Visit on a Monday for Happy Hour pricing all evening long.
Expected damage: $60 – $85++ per pax