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Letter From Hong Kong: Space Exploration

Ask anyone in crowded Hong Kong to name the ultimate luxury and you'll hear one word: space.

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Ask anyone in crowded Hong Kong to name the ultimate luxury and you'll hear one word: space. In a city where the average apartment is just 600 square feet, elbow room is at a premium — which partly explains the eye-popping appeal of two hot restaurants in the Central district, Sevva and Zuma. And since newness is prized almost as much as space, both serve fresh ideas and fine cuisine. Despite being two of Hong Kong's most spacious restaurants, they are consistently filled to capacity, so reservations are a must. 

- Sevva, pronounced "Savor," is the city's newest darling from socialite-entrepreneur Bonnie Gokson, who has trendsetting in her genes. She is a sister of Joyce Ma, empress of Asian fashion; was the inspiring force behind the popular Joyce Café restaurants in the Nineties, and is the "creative eye" for the new W and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

For Sevva, Gokson thought big. The 25th-floor penthouse restaurant in Prince's Building in the heart of the Central district opened last month and features a wraparound terrace with breathtaking views, as well as four dining and drinking areas: casual Harbor Side, sophisticated Bank Side, Taste Bar for snacks and drinks and the Terrace, where the Harbor Side menu is served alfresco. There is so much room here, Sevva even added a Cake Corner for visitors with a sweet tooth.

Interiors and cuisine were inspired by what Gokson termed "the DNA" of Hong Kong, marrying Asian and Western traditions. That makes the 22,000-square-foot restaurant a lure for treats such as clay pot rice, king prawn and crab roe spaghetti with Champagne crème sauce. Just pick a view, budget and you're off.

- Zuma might not boast Sevva's 360-degree views, but it, too, has lots of space — 10,000 square feet, in fact. Spanning two levels at The Landmark, Zuma Hong Kong is the newest incarnation of London's award-winning restaurant, featuring chef Rainer Becker's twist on authentic Japanese cuisine.

Since its opening in June, when hundreds queued to try Becker's sushi, Zuma has become a city hot spot. Actually, it's two of the city's hot spots: The superchic restaurant on level five features a terrace, two private dining rooms and three open kitchens, including the Sushi Counter and Robata Counter (where signature dishes such as spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chili and sweet soy are offered). It is connected via a dramatic spiral staircase to the Lounge Bar above, where stylish Hong Kongers come for the irresistible mix of Champagne, cocktails, DJs and food — including unique bar snacks and the menu served downstairs. Views of the city are impressive, but at Zuma, visitors mostly come to watch each other.
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