The Yuma Toys Cafe in Gading Serpong, Tangerang, may not appear like much at first. An unconvincing logo with a Japanese comic-style character and a forgettable font is the only thing that suggests there may be more than meets the eye inside.
But through the cafe doors, visitors find themselves immediately greeted by a large floating robot, harnessed to the cafe’s ceiling. The robot is a Gundam character from a very popular Japanese animated series that premiered in 1979 and has since achieved international prominence.
Standing more than a meter high, the flying Gundam represents Yuma Toys’ full-blown concept: a fusion food hangout for anyone who’s tired of the usual fine dining and is eager for a bit of fun dining (excuse the bad pun) instead. Because at Yuma, it’s apparently not all about the food.
Beneath the floating mega-robot stands a display cupboard, and depending on the day, visitors can look inside to admire fancy figurines of well-known superheroes and film characters such as Iron Man, Ghost Rider and even a toddler-sized Yoda from “Star Wars.”
Neatly arranged across its walls and windowed cupboards are hundreds of action figures of all kinds. They are divided by their respective series, with small Gundam robots at one end, characters from Pixar’s “Toy Story” film series at the other and plenty more in between.
Though there is clearly a preference for Japanese animation, or anime, and live-action series, Yuma’s presentation of “Star Wars,” Pixar and Marvel Comics collectables creates a welcome balance.
And that’s just the first floor.
Yuma Toys’ second level holds even more surprises. A display wall that faces both outside and inside holds a life-sized Darth Vader figurine and a bust of Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker, as he appears in the blockbuster movie “The Dark Knight.”
Other smaller but no less intriguing collectibles are exhibited on the walls, including “The Lord of the Rings” and Disney miniature displays and many figures from various anime series.
The cafe takes the name Yuma from the Mandarin word for “mother.” The owner, Budi Santoso Liman, said he hoped the venture brought as much success to his offspring as a mother would.
Most of the toys came from Budi’s own collection, and the family man sure knows how to translate his hobby into a full dining experience. Aside from the collectible display, patrons can play with Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii gaming consoles on the second floor.
Then there’s the “menu,” or rather there are two: one for the food and one for the myriad board games that customers can play for free.
While diners can first opt for the usual mix of Indonesian, Italian and Western cuisine — all the dishes are good but not great, on par with other mid-market cafes — toy enthusiasts and nostalgia freaks can jump straight into playing a game of Monopoly, Operation, Cluedo or many other less heralded but no less intriguing board games.
Yuma Toys Cafe is one of those gimmick-heavy cafes that works. While the food and homely decor is nothing to write home about, the sheer amount of toys and fun gadgets makes it worth a visit.
The service is commendably friendly and the entire staff is eager to please. In fact, they all seem to have an insane amount of knowledge about the toys, video and board games, including even the rarest, imported ones with Japanese instruction booklets.
Yuma Toys Cafe
Ruko Moscow Blok A No. 8Gading Serpong, Tangerang