“This all started with a single Spiderman toy. But now, I don’t even know how many I have,” Richard Chua chuckled. We were then seated in the middle of his newly-opened The Sci-fi Café, below a static Millennium Falcon, and amidst hundreds of action figures. “Wow” was all I could utter.
Located at the fourth floor west wing of Robinson’s Galleria, The Sci-fi Café is a toy gallery cum restaurant owned and operated by a group of self-declared geeks (Richard included). The main draw to the restaurant is Richard’s expansive collection that features toys and props from almost every fantasy movie imaginable.
Sci-fi movies, especially the ones from the 80s and the 90s, are well-represented in display. Staples like Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien vs. Predator, E.T., Terminator, Robocop, M.I.B. and even Cameron’s Avatar are present in the shelves.
Marvel and DC fans are also in for a treat; Richard owns the complete set of the revered super humans. “What I like most about these 12-inch toys is the workmanship. The toys are so detailed, they resemble the actors who played the roles,” Richard told me when he saw me admiring Tony Stark’s mini-me.
The café primarily pays homage to Richard’s fascination in Sci-Fi, but his collection actually transcends genres. “We also showcase a lot of Lord of the Rings here. We even bought props that approximate the weapons used in the movie,” Richard narrated.
He also bought items from Toy Story, Disney, and Pixar to add to his collection. “We have a sort of a kiddie corner here. We bought these to complete the movie toy collection.”
From among the additional toys, the Johnny Depp Collection that features his most notable roles, get the most attention. Twihards also often ogle at the non-sparkling models of Twilight’s vampires just above Johnny Depp.
“As of now, the toys are not for sale. But guests are allowed to play with some items like the helmets, light sabers, our interactive R2D2, wands, and swords. If I’m here, I even allow them to play with bigger items like Wolverine’s claws.”
Richard, urging his interactive R2D2 to dance
Just like their gallery which displays movie toys that transcend genres, The Sci-Fi Café’s menu isn’t strictly confined to a certain cuisine. The menu is currently a limited selection that highlights: pizzas, burgers, and hotdogs– food we usually crave while watching movies. “People are drawn in because of the toy display. But we want them to come back for the food. I only serve here food that I personally eat and like,” Richard explained.
The Two Towers
Starters here at The Sci-Fi Café are meant to be shared. The Two Towers (P270), a bestseller, is too big a task for one geek; make sure to consume this with the help of a Sam and a Gollum. This edible representation of evil Sauron’s and Saruman’s fortresses piles deep-fried onion and calamari rings into two wobbly towers. As if those are not plenty enough, a hefty serving of fries is added to surround the base. Dip all three in the accompanying chili-lime mayo for that spicy-tangy kick.
Even larger than the Two Towers is The Sci-fi Café’s spicy Nacho Libre (P250). The 18-inch serving plate filled with nacho chips, tomatoes, chilli-con-carne, and melted cheese is big enough to whet the appetite of a fresh-from-match luchador. Note that this is a 7 in my 10-point heat scale. Order with caution.
Among the main offerings, Richard recommends the Planet of the Shrimps Pizza (P420). Cream cheese, spinach, anchovies, baby shrimps, and mozzarella decorate the 12-inch, cracker-thin crust.
Planet of the Shrimps Pizza
While the combination of ingredients isn’t exactly original, the harmonious blending of flavors tells why so many restaurants recreate the classic: cream cheese, spinach, anchovies, and baby shrimps medley whenever possible.
The café’s second bestseller, the Armageddon Pizza (P380) combines ground beef, pepperoni, salami, mozzarella. This classic meaty fare is an alternative for those who can’t tolerate seafood.
Richard suggests that you pair the pizzas with pastas. Pesto-lovers should try The Grinch (P280), a well-executed and aromatic garlic-pesto pasta topped with juicy Hungarian sausage slices. Those who favor tomatoes can opt for The Godfather (P280), a classic Pomodoro spaghetti topped with fist-sized breaded meatballs.
One can’t go wrong with ordering Steve Rogers Burger (P340)—with hand-rolled herbed pure beef patty, dressed with the usual veggies, mozzarella cheese, and condiments. It’s another classic done right, even the conservative Captain America will probably approve of this.
Steve Rogers Burger
Last among the recommendations is Jabba the Hotdog (P290). Instead of offering your usual hotdog in bun, The Sci-fi Café rolls Frankfurters—dressed in sweet barbecue sauce and milky nacho cheese, in a homemade and chewy roti prata.
Jabba the Hotdog
Sans the regular thick buns, one can focus more on the interplay between cheese and sausage juice. The salad that comes with it is meant to wash the saltiness in between bites.
"Kava che copah?" (How much for that item?)
The Sci-fi Cafe is open from Monday to Thursday 10:00am – 9:00pm, Friday and Saturday 10:00am – 10:00pm, and Sunday at 10:00am – 9:00pm. For reservation and function inquiries, you may call (+63 920) 964-8211.