The newly opened Terra on Tras Street offers diners in Singapore a glimpse into Tokyo-Italian culture and cuisine
The dining scene on Tras Street is a vibrant one, affording diners anything from authentic French fare to one of a kind cocktails. Entering the fray with his own eclectic blend of cuisines is Chef Seita Nakahara’s Terra. The Tokyo-Italian restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Seita and represents the culmination of his year-long culinary sabbatical through Tokyo and Italy. His journey exposed him to the techniques and styles of the locales and allowed him to build direct relationships with farmers and fishermen, giving him access to unique, handpicked produce that take a starring role on his menu.
One of the earlier courses on his degustation menu was the scallop gratin with red pepper sauce, a dish that immediately highlighted the quality of Chef Seita’s ingredients. Served in a miniature Dutch oven, it was hearty, comforting fare that married the delicate taste of scallops with a richly flavoured red pepper sauce. A single, crisp asparagus spear lent a welcome bit of freshness to the dish. While the scallop gratin may seem pedestrian to some, there are plenty of new tastes to savour from the menu.
Enter the spaghetti with uni and bottarga. Although not the main course, it was the clearest example of Tokyo-Italian fusion, blending the traditionally Italian bottarga (cured in-house for three weeks) with uni imported from Japan. The spaghetti, made from scratch and served al-dente, arrived in a neat mound, peppered with uni and bottarga. The firm bite of the spaghetti perfectly complemented the soft, buttery bottarga. Despite the pungency of the bottarga, the uni managed to exhibit its delicate, briny taste. Evidently, Chef Seita was familiar enough with bottarga to avoid overdoing it. Like the asparagus in the scallop gratin, a dash of yuzu served to brighten up the dish.
The main course, the char-grilled Tajima beef was a model of what good steak should be. It was presented sliced open, proudly displaying its pink interior – it would be a shame to serve a quality cut of beef in any doneness more than medium. As its name suggests, the beef was finished with a charred crust that juxtaposed nicely with its tender insides. A unique addition to the dish was the rarely used chervil root, hidden in a medley of vegetables. It was a pleasant surprise, tasting somewhere between a chestnut and a yam.
Adding to the enjoyment of the whole affair was the decor itself. Terra‘s soft lighting and warm stone and brick interior helped to retain a sense of earthiness; a visual representation of the restaurant’s name. While undeniably a fine dining establishment, Terra’s ambience and its comforting fare work together to present diners a homely experience that will surely warrant a second visit.
Terra, 54 Tras Street, Singapore 078993. p. 6221 5159. Open Mon-Fri 12pm-2pm (Last order), Mon-Sat 6.30pm-10pm (Last order). Closed on Sunday.