Thursday, February 11, 2016

Humpback - A Whale of a Delightful Brunch

Humpback is one of those eateries that will surprise you if you give it a chance. Situated along the slope of Bukit Pasoh Road, it looks almost rustic from the outside.

Stepping inside, it has a light aqua colour that matches it's name and it's seafood themed menu rather nicely.

Recently, they have moved into the competitive brunch territory to compete with its neighbouring cafes, and you know what? Humpback has just schooled them all.

Chef Polo Seah is a young and energetic chef that runs his kitchen with a certain amount of precision and discipline. His head, firmly on his broad shoulders, is the kind of local chef that does his industry proud with the quality and creativity on his plates.

Fried Egg

You can start with some of their oysters, which are fresh and brilliant and well shucked. But seriously, the best way to get your brunch appetite going is this delicious Fried Egg with Orzo. The orzo pasta functions like a well oiled risotto, just plumper and with more bite.

The fried egg with its eye catching golden crust, is fully fleshed out with nicely cooked pieces of octopus and a well chosen use of tete de moine cheese. Utterly brilliant and deceptively simple in the end.


This romaine lettuce dish is also very easy to eat, and ultimately very addictive. Crispy wild rice and appropriately perfumed with celery, a simple savoury and zesty buttermilk dressing to complete the greens dish.


I have had hamachi and this ranks up there with the best. The Peruvian inspired dressing of tiger's milk is actually light and citrusy that works more like a ceviche. The succulent fish cubes are delighted to be bathed in the fruity juices and with some horseradish to break up the party somewhat.

What I found surprising was the use of sweet potato chunks to give it a natural boost of sweetness that not only gives it an extra depth, the resultant balance of flavours is also beautifully executed. Chef Polo deserves kudos for this clever addition.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs benny are a dime and a dozen these days, and rarely do they break out of the norm. And when they do, they better have the gall to concoct something so left field like Humpback's version.

Let's just say that crab, avocado and a blow torch are involved in this refreshing new take on a well worn staple in cafes. Better yet, just marvel at the picture above.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

But if there is a dish that won me over that day, it is this amazing yet simple looking Buttermilk Fried Chicken. As southern American as you can get, and as comforting as fried chicken dishes goes, this takes the proverbial cake.

That batter, golden nuggety crisp and flaky, and the hot moistness of the chicken flesh are done so perfectly well, I wonder why you need to fly to the US of A for this. Not only comforting and dazzling, it will leave you wanting more after the last bite.

Yes, Humpback is a charming little eatery. When you are here, you will be fortunate if you can get the Chef's table where you can glimpse Chef Polo and his team hard at work. This, my dear readers, is what local chefs should be doing.

Instead of blasting their mouths against social media and bloggers, Singapore chefs that can really cook often let the food do all the talking. And no, they welcome us like friends back for another great meal. And yes, we will praise the heck out of them if they are this good.

And make no mistake, Chef Polo is better than good. His food shows remarkable humility in terms of its construction and presentation, but it does not lack any sense of flavours or balance. In fact, every dish that came out of his kitchen was cleverly designed for tastiness.

As for the ranting one, I have yet to hear what is your forte is or even a signature dish from you. And one more thing, bloggers do cook too. So, do not be hasty to judge the rest of us so.

18/20 Bukit Pasoh Road

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