The Place Tras Street at Tanjong Pagar is full of hidden gems, and I mean restaurants. Terra, a Tokyo-Italian restaurant by Japanese Chef Seita Nakahara, is one of the newest restaurant on the block, having opened its doors officially in mid-October. Terra is the brainchild of Chef Seita, who has many years of culinary experience in Japanese-Italian cuisine from his previous stints in Japan and Italy. His philosophy is to bring the freshest ingredients of the season to his menu, which is best appreciated from the omakase or degustation menu.
I fell in love with the shop house restaurant almost instantly upon entering. The setting is classy, with a nice touch of natural lighting from part of the glass ceiling, which fell nicely on the live green wall of the restaurant. The space is not huge and can accommodate about 32 diners, which makes it a cosy and intimate space.
The Food While Tokyo-Italian cuisine is subjective, we understand from Chef Seita that Italian cuisine takes centre stage at Terra, with fine nuances of Japanese elements in his dishes. Chef Seita is very particular about the ingredients he uses, as he sources most of his ingredients directly from his relationships with various suppliers around the world, such as the farm for the Tajima beef or the Spanish supplier for the Iberico Ham.
To whet our appetite, we were served the amuse-bouche of Iberico Ham with Burrata before our Degustation Menu ($98++).
For starter, we tried the Scallop from Salfutu ($20), an oven-baked combination of gratin, mushroom and herbal butter. The Hokkaido scallops were tastefully done in a pool of capsicum puree, which was quite a refreshing combination. Needless to say, I enjoyed the mushrooms most, especiallly Japanese mushrooms which had that tinge of buttery flavour as well.
The Spaghetti with Sea Urchin and Bottarga is a perfect embodiment of Tokyo-Italian cuisine. Using The Bottarga was cured in-house for over two weeks, using fresh mullet roe. The incredibly fresh Sea Urchin from Hokkaido was packed with so much umami, which blended effortlessly with the Bottarga flavour in the pasta.
The dish I was most looking forward to did not disappoint. The chargrilled Tajima Wagyu Beef I had was from the misuji (shoulder loin) of the beef, which Chef Seita had specially chosen this part of the beef for its less fatty characteristic, and he is personally fond of Tajima beef. However, the overall flavour of the beef was not compromised at all. In fact, it was so rich in flavour as I savour every small bite, appreciating the melt-in-the-mouth texture slowly.
Expect nothing ordinary for desserts. Chef Seita served the Shine Muscat grapes and sorbet, which happened to be in season and was only available for one week!
Rants Being a fine dining restaurant, some people may find Terra expensive, especially as a venue for weekday lunch for the office crowd in the vicinity. In relative terms, there is a Omakase lunch menu which seems more value for money as compared to the a la carte menu. The Omakase lunch is priced at $42++ (Starter, Pasta and Dessert) and $58++ (Starter, Pasta, Main and Dessert).
Will I Return Again? I love the execution of the dishes I tried and the fresh thought put into each dish by Chef Seita. This is one restaurant to mark down, especially if you are fond of both Italian and Japanese cuisine. I will recommend going for the Omakase or Degustation menu for the best bits of Chef Seita’s creations.
Make your reservation instantly at Terra here.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
54 Tras Street
Tel: +65 6221 5159
12 noon to 3 pm (last order at 2 pm); 6.30 pm to 11 pm (10 pm last order)
Ranted by the Ranter