Hi from Chris
In my 10 years working for FWDC I have gotten to know so many of our customers and most importantly what their style and taste profiles are regarding wine. It's so very often in recommending wines that the conversation turns to food with tips exchanged on where and importantly where not to dine out in Auckland.
Those that know me well are familiar with the fact that I absolutely love fishing and indulging in fresh seafood. So naturally, Japanese ranks as my favourite style of cuisine and is always my first choice for a special dining experience which is exactly what I enjoyed recently at Bowz Japanese Restaurant; located at 5 Pah Road Greenwoods Corner Epsom (right next door to One Tree Grill) and in my opinion a hidden gem of the Auckland restaurant scene.
Although Bowz is a Teppan-yaki style restaurant offering succulent cuts of chicken, Salmon or Wagyu Beef from the hot plate, they also have an excellent selection of fresh Sashimi and Shellfish available.
On arrival you will be greeted by Manager Maru Yuichiro – With his professional yet very polite manner and infectious smile, Maru will make you feel immediately at home in the small yet very comfortable setting of Bowz. Our evening began with Bluff Oysters and the Sashimi selection which was not only sensationally presented, but most importantly beautifully fresh.
All my favourites of Salmon, Tuna, Snapper and Trevally were included with the added bonus of Scallops and Scampi. With so many wonderful flavours and textures on the plate complemented by high grade sashimi soy sauce and fresh wasabi (grated in front of you) the quality and satisfaction level was very high indeed.
Being an absolute addict of Sashimi it's very rare when something served on the side almost steals the show. However calling the Bowz special Crayfish head Miso soup a side dish would be an injustice because it's a sensation in its own right. Both the aroma and again presentation made my mouth water and much like a great wine this Miso had richness and layers with an intensity of flavour very rarely experienced, it is an absolute must try.
One of the great advantages of Bowz is that its owner Yusuke Nozaki is truly passionate about wine and food with much of the wine list procured from FWDC. Much like we will never stock a wine unless it passes our tasting panel, Yusuke will only accept a wine for his list after an extensive tasting and food menu sampling session with manager Maru and Chef Masaki Tsukuba.
I chose the Misha's dress circle Pinot Gris to start the evening which went so perfectly with the seafood that I simply couldn't resist a second glass.
Now to decide on something from the Teppan-yaki and with the idea of Surf and Turf having great appeal to my taste buds, I went the whole hog and ordered the Wagyu Beef and Crayfish set.
Being only my second time to try Wagyu Beef and first time to enjoy it from the Teppan-yaki I was very excited with the flames and theatrics adding to the experience brilliantly. I decided on the Kusuda Pinot Noir 2011 which Maru had decanted 30 minutes previous and served in top quality Pinot Noir specific glassware. With the Wagyu Beef and Crayfish now ready and medley of veggies on the side the scene was set for a truly memorable meal.
Perfectly cooked and seasoned the wonderfully marbled Wagyu Beef was a great delight made even better by each following mouthful of juicy, sweet, succulent crayfish. Needless to say the Kusuda Pinot Noir although already brilliant, entered a new realm with the food and reconfirmed my opinion of the producer as being among NZ's finest.
All and all the quality of food that Bowz can deliver along with the exceptional service, wine selection and stemware is hugely impressive and I encourage all to visit Maru soon for the Bowz restaurant experience.
***Mention you read the FWDC blog and you will have 20% credited off your bill
BOWZ Japanese Restaurant
5 Pah Road Epsom Auckland