Judging by the full house on the weekday we were there, everyone had diligently adhered to the one-week advanced booking notice at Tokyo-Italian restaurant terra. The prize? Chef Seita Nakahara’s signature omakase menu.
Bright and airy with pockets of natural light cascading into the 36-seater restaurant, Terra is chef-owner Seita Nakahara’s way of conveying his “connection with nature; an energy that runs through the land, animals, food and man. This is the same connection I have with Singapore and why I want to share my passion and love, as well as a real taste of the Tokyo-Italian dining experience”.
While he hails from Tokyo, Japan, chef Nakahara spent his formative years in Singapore. He speaks of how Singapore ignited his passion for Italian food almost 20 years earlier. Upon graduating from school he went on to work his way through kitchens in Tuscany, Sicily and Piedmont to pick up the intricacies of Italian cuisine. After a stint as executive chef at Italian restaurant Enoteca L’Operetta, chef Nakahara now helms the kitchen at Terra, serving up modern Italian creations featuring Japanese ingredients.
Our six-course meal started with chilled capellini, accompanied with slices of sweet peach sourced from Wakayama, Japan. Up next was a Hokkaido hairy crab salad with salsa verde, plated in layers of leg meat, roe and claw meat so you really bite into the fresh crustacean’s different textures. Still on seafood for the next dish, the autumn ma-anago (sea eel) from Nagasaki prefecture was prepared in fritter style, with a carpaccio-thin slice of pork cheek above that literally melted in the mouth.
While we expected that the pasta for our fourth course would be homemade, what was unexpected was how the noodles were passed through the strings of a Japanese guitar, to lend more texture, instead of the usual pasta machine. A most fresh and succulent piece of scampi from Shizuoka prefecture completed the dish.
Up next was an expertly cooked slice of wagyu sourced from Tochigi prefecture that was first cooked sous-vide, then lightly pan-seared and paired fresh peanuts from Chiba prefecture. A pretty dish of caramelised black fig with homemade vanilla ice cream and fresh Kyushu strawberries finished off the meal.
And while the dishes may change according to the seasons, chef Nakahara shares that he often retains staple ingredients such as sea urchin, wagyu beef and fresh scallops.
A six-course omakase menu is priced at $128, $168 or $208. Wine pairings require an additional cost starting from $128. Expect a satisfying chat on wine recommendations with wine sommelier and manager, Sho, who’s also well able to share the finest details of the dishes presented for that day, right down to the specific Japanese prefectures and cooking methods by chef Nakahara.
54 Tras Street. Tel: 9751 2145