Terra by Seita at Tras Street, is here to introduce to you a new dining culture - Tokyo-Italian dining. Not to be confused with Japanese-Italian fusion cuisine, Chef-Owner Nakahara Seita's dishes here remains true to their Italian identity but crafted using techniques unique to Tokyo and ingredients native to Japan. It stems from the popularity of Italian cuisines in Tokyo, where the streets are populated with Italian restaurants.
Urban terracotta floors, a live green wall, reflect Chef Seita's connection with nature, which he sees as an energy that runs through the land, animals, food and us, man. (which also explains the shiny metallic cow heads pinned on the wall). And apparently, the patterned brick walls were pieced together by him, with the help of some professionals. The restaurant sits 36 people, including a private dining room divided by a movable wall illustrated with a Italian street scene.
Influenced by the four seasons of Japan, Chef Sieta's Omakase is a degustation menu of his own creations based on the seasonal ingredients, paired with Italian wines of his recommendation. What we had was his Autumn Menu, and we had a peek of the ingredients harvested for our meal - Uni, Hokkaido Vongole clams and Hokkaido King Crab.
Focaccia with Porcini Butter 3.8/5
We started with some warm in house Focaccia with Porcini Butter. Like pate but creamier and smoother, the savoury butter melted in my mouth with an earthy taste.
Uni Bruschetta 3.5/5
For starters, we first had Uni Bruschetta with 6-month old homemade preserved lemon. I learnt that Chef Seita likes to work with Uni, for its acquired taste and the challenge to get it right, which to me, he pretty much did. The cold custard-like Uni spread on the crusty bread was delicate and smooth to taste. The kiss from the pickled lemon reminded me of a good old fashion oyster recipe - a squeeze of lemon juice onto freshly-shucked oysters.
Bonnito Fish Cappacio 3.8/5
Though not as a key ingredient, Cherry tomatoes in Terra carries a rather heavy weight in Chef Seita's dishes, evident in the next 2 items. Bonnito Fish Cappacio, glazed with olive oil and assorted micro herbs, was served on a cherry tomato base with dill sauce. The fish had a firm texture, and I like the use of the sweet tangy tomato salsa and botanicals which balanced any brininess that the fish might have.
Hokkaido King Crab Meat Spaghettini 4.5/5
Next up was a quintessential Italian dish, a pasta - Hokkaido King Crab Meat Spaghettini with Hokkaido cherry tomatos, which is available for 1 month only. Spaghetti has been on the menus of cafes in Japan since the 1920s and was speculated to be the birth of the Itameshi phenomenon. The cooked tomato ruptured with such intense flavour, and perhaps only King Crab, prized for its sweetness and succulence, could counter balance that. Chef Seita also makes the restaurant’s fresh pasta daily based on techniques learned from Italian chefs in Italy, which is available for your Omakase upon request.
Amadai Fish 4.5/5
For mains we had another King - Amadai Fish, served medium rare with fresh Hokkaido vongole clams and Hokkaido potato. Served medium rare with its scales all crisped like a crown, I love the contrast in texture and how it melted in my mouth. The chunky potato broth was sweet and comforting, punctuated with freshness lent from the Italian parsley.
Mr Yoshioka's Pork 4/5
Mr Yoshioka's Pork, was our last of the mains, a Spanish iberico served with caramelised Japanese onions topped with Australian winter truffles and truffle butter sauce. Moist and tender, my favourite bit was certainly the charred edge of the pork. I was quite amazed by the huge Japanese onion at the side, and I thought it could have been even tastier should it have been caramelised further for a deeper, sweeter taste.
Fruits from Japan are just as stunning as their fresh produce. The dessert says it all. It comprises yuzu sorbet, Japanese Amaou strawberry, Shizuoka musk melon, Yamanashi Peach from Hokuto and Moscato D'asti Jelly, all the goodness in one bowl. Each tiny piece seemed to be packed with flavours of the entire fruit.
There are 3 omakase menus priced at $128++, $168++ and $208++. Diners can top up $88++ for wine pairing. Apart from the Uni Bruschetta, the other items were the first time Seita has served it in his restaurant.
Written and photograph by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food.
Terra by Seita
54 Tras Street
Tel: +65 62215159
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (Tanjong Pagar)
Mon-Fri: 12pm - 3pm, 630pm - 11pm
Sat: 630pm - 11pm
(Closed on Sun)
Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk towards Orchid Hotel via Wallich Street. Turn right onto Tras Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]