Chef-owner Seita Nakahara of Terra is sort of a high priest of Tokyo-Italian cuisine in Singapore, if you will, marrying authentic and classic Italian cooking with the best of Japanese ingredients. He’s spent years honing his culinary skills not only at Tokyo’s best Italian restaurants but also with extensive training stints in Tuscany, Sicily and Piedmont. He’s also spent much time scouring Japan for the best producers of various precious ingredients.
The omakase is the recommended course of action at Terra. For dinner, there are three omakase menus; what is served depends on the season and the ingredients that Nakahara has managed to fly in. The restaurant is casual, sans table linen and with tables placed quite close to one another. Although the kitchen is considered open, those who want to peer in have to peep round the crockery and other stuff placed on the shelf partition.
The chef believes in celebrating ingredients and in showcasing their seasonal best, a case in point being the duo of bruschetta that kick-started our omakase: a generous amount of Hokkaido uni on one and botan ebi on the other – a simple preparation that allowed the ingredients to sing. Another dish that’s part of the omakase was a sauteed squid with pine nut sauce and Hokkaido vegetables served in a little cast iron Staub pot.
While we didn’t get to try the signature uni pasta, we did enjoy the prawn spaghetti – the prawns were fresh and the spaghetti was cooked to perfection. But the dish that really wowed us was the one after – the famed acqua pazza (“crazy water”) – a seafood soup with a firm and delicious piece of golden eye snapper with crackling-like skin and mussels and clams. It’s heady stuff; fragrant and potent to the last drop.
They say the sign of a great chef is knowing when to show restraint, and Nakahara did just that – a slice of Tochigi wagyu was seasoned just right, seared and pan-roasted till medium-rare and served with half a Hokkaido brown mushroom. Every bite was slowly savoured to make it count.
54 Tras Street, S(078993)