In this edition of Hot 50 Tables, we revisit the Michelin-starred terra's take on Tokyo-Italian cuisine
Opening quietly near the end of 2015, terra on Tras Street was a restaurant that piqued my curiosity very early. Hidden behind its earth-toned walls, Chef-owner Seita Nakahara modestly worked on his love song to authentic Italian cuisine, offering creations such as his signature spaghetti with uni and bottarga, as well as char-grilled Tajima beef served with chervil root. A year on, with a Michelin Star under his belt, I decided it was time to revisit this impressive restaurant. But first, you must be wondering…
So what is Tokyo-Italian?
For starters, Tokyo-Italian is not Japanese-Italian – that’s a point Chef Seita drives across tirelessly. What it represents is, instead, the chef’s authentic Italian recipes that champion fresh, seasonal ingredients from Japan. The restaurant also represents the culmination of his year-long culinary sabbatical through Tokyo and Italy – a journey that allowed him to build direct relationships with farmers and fishermen, giving him access to the handpicked produce that takes a starring role on his menu.
Being an omakase menu, there’s no guarantee that a particular dish will be on the menu – the only constants to expect, however, are supremely fresh ingredients and traditional Italian methods. Starting off the omakase menu when I visited was the uni bruschetta. An ode to simplicity, the dish paired a portion of uni on olive oil-drizzled bruschetta. My appetite whet, I moved on to the abalone with white asparagus. The dish presents diners with contrasting tastes – the tender, delicately flavoured white asparagus playing off against the rich, savoury abalone.
The most substantial dish on the omakase menu was the spaghetti alla pescatora. This is a dish that codifies Chef Seita’s approach to cooking. There’s nothing pretentious or overly produced here – just spectacularly fresh seafood, and al dente pasta cooked in a manner that would impress any wizened Italian grandmother. My final savoury dish, the tochigi wagyu, was a portion of medium rare steak served with a quartered Portobello mushroom. Buttery, smooth, and tender, it was a clear example of beef done right.
In five words…
Rustic Italian meets Japanese ingredients.
terra, 54 Tras Street, Singapore 078993. p. 6221 5159. Open weekdays 12pm-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm. Sat 6.30pm-11pm. Closed on Sun.