My Humble House – Singapore

It was a hot and humid Saturday morning in Singapore and my wife and I decided, at a last minute whim, to have lunch at the much publicised My Humble House located at the Esplanade Mall. My Humble House is part of the Tung Lok Group, a Singapore based restaurant chain with pan-Asian operations focused on many different types of Chinese cuisines. They are similar in scope to the more varied and diversified Crystal Jade Culinary Concept Holdings in Singapore and TT Resources in Malaysia.

My Humble House, first opened in 2002 to much fanfare, was voted as one of the top 100 restaurants (94th position) in the world by Restaurant Magazine in 2007. I had also read much about Tung Lok’s local Singaporean celebrity chef Sam Leong and his innovative culinary contributions to the local food scene. With great anticipation and high expectations, my wife and I set off to The Esplanade Mall for a nice leisurely lunch.

Our arrival at the restaurant was greeted by a pleasant hostess who promptly seated us right by the window. The decorations in the restaurant were quite unusual and I likened it to something out of an Alice in Wonderland experience. What stood out the most were the dining chairs which had very high backs. The overall interior décor was very much leaning towards a blend of Asian influenced contemporary vibe with fantasy folklore undertones.

In tune with the upcoming Mother’s Day celebrations, My Humble House had offered a set lunch menu called “A Tribute to Unconditional Love”. It was an 8 course meal for SGD$68++ per person. With an opportunity to try many different dishes in one seating, I had chosen the set lunch while my wife ordered from the à la carte menu. She ordered a Seafood Stir Fried Mee Sua and a Dried Silken Tofu with Green Tea and Onions.

The “A Tribute to Unconditional Love” set lunch menu consisted of the following items:

Chef Amuse Bouche
A Beautiful Love – Crisp Fried Tiger Prawn tossed with Lemon Citrus Cream accompanied with Crispy Bean Curd Layer
Elixir of Life – Braised Shark’s Fin in Shark’s Cartilage Broth with Fish Maw and Bamboo Pith
A Tender Touch – Steamed Fillet of Marble Goby and Preserved Chili
Pure Pleasure – My Humble House Calamansi Juice
The Inspiration – Oven Baked Lamb Rack with Arabica Coffee Reduction accompanied by with Foie Gras in Port Wine Sauce
Comfort and Joy – Braised Tiger Prawn with Ginger Reduction in Black Truffle Jusaccompanied with Hand Spun Noodles
Mother Nature’s Gift – My Humble House Desserts Delight

The set lunch was a disappointment. The only standout dish was the Braised Shark’s Fin in Shark’s Cartilage Broth with Fish Maw and Bamboo Pith. This dish was the only item that accentuated the main ingredient (shark’s cartilage) while providing supporting depth in flavour and texture from the fish maw and shark fin. The other dishes were either bland or had one flavour that overpowered the other giving it a one dimensional sensory experience. For example, A Tender Touch was a dish which had no discernable taste of fish. The chilli sauce was overpowering to the point where the taste of spiciness totally masked any flavour of the fish. A Beautiful Love was a dish that lacked inspiration in flavour and was confusing with respect to harmony in construction. The tiger prawn was tossed in a lemon cream and, while good on its own with a nice mild lemon flavour, was in total disequilibrium with the accompanying crispy bean curd layer (like a tuile) and fresh fruits. I did not get a sense of harmonious flavour between the three components and was left mystified as to why this dish was constructed the way it was.

Moving onto items from the à la carte menu, the Seafood Stir Fried Mee Sua was another disappointment. While the menu description of this dish indicated that it was a “dry” noodle dish (no sauce), the dish arrived at our table as a “wet” noodle dish immersed in sauce. Rather than highlight this confusion, my wife and I decided to keep quiet and took the dish as-is. Again, the noodle dish was uninspiring with a one dimensional homogeneous flavour that was mediocre at best. The best dish of the meal was the Dried Silken Tofu with Green Tea and Onions. This dish was outstanding in texture and flavour. The tofu was topped with green tea powder and fried perfectly together to provide a paper thin layer of crispiness that was discernable as soon as we took our first bite. The fried onions sprinkled on top of the tofu added extra textural contrast and delivered another dimension in flavour. We enjoyed this dish thoroughly.

Service was friendly and attentive but very slow at times. Overall, I think the value of the meal was decent considering the quality of the ingredients used in the dishes. Where my problem lied was on the execution of bringing these ingredients together to come up with outstanding tasting dishes. Within the hands of a highly skilled chef, I am sure these dishes could have been elevated to great heights. Unfortunately, I felt that during our visit, the level of culinary skills in the kitchen just wasn’t there to be able to tie together all the ingredients to deliver a truly standout culinary experience.

Summary:

My Humble House
8 Raffles Avenue
#02-27 The Esplanade Mall
Singapore 039802
Tel: +65 6423 1881
Fax: +65 6423 1551

Website: http://www.tunglok.com/index1.htm

Opening Hours:
Lunch: 11:45am – 3:00pm
Dinner: 6:30pm – 11:00pm

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One Response to “My Humble House – Singapore”

  1. Wooniasom Says:

    Outstanding article / hope to come back again soon!

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