OUR business editor Nelson mentioned it with awe after being brought there by our GM Tessie one afternoon during a power interruption.

"Para kang emperor!" he said.

It was again mentioned by Goin' Places follower Boyet who urged us to go there.

"You have to see it," he said.

And so one evening, with Cebu guest Ganzo in town, I decided to drag her along and gawk at whatever it is these two men were raving about. I also dragged along Davao Light's Ross, just to share whatever experience awaited us.

The place: Ryuma Coffee Shop in a two-storey building called K7 Strip along J.P. Laurel Avenue just after Grand Regal Hotel but right before the R. Castillo-J.P. Laurel traffic lights if you are from south going north (right across the Caltex station).

And no wonder they were raving about it. It's not your usual coffee shop, and the shop right beside it that showcases... ehem... lavatories and faucets is a delight. It's difficult to explain how lavatories and faucets could delight you, so you can just take my word for it. I never thought I'd be that fascinated about bathroom fixtures. But imagine looking at a hand painted lacquer faucet that costs more than P99,000. Yep, you read it right, P99,000. It's P99,750 to be exact. And since I am not about to throw P99,750 on one faucet, I could just gawk in fascination paired with sheer absence of comprehension along the line of, "Who the heck buys these stuff, anyway????"

The coffee shop lounge, which is on the second floor, is gaudy as only the word gaudy can express. The sofas and couches are in gold, brocaded and carved, and the whole second floor is filled with them. Plus, since it's the season to be jolly, they have Christmas decors galore. You'd squint.

There are three flat screen Sony televisions that you can turn on and change channels at will, although the channel programming are quite not what we are used to. When in our daily life we go to Channel 10 and 12 for the regular ABS-CBN and GMA channels on cable TV, there, these two are somewhere in the 20s. Like 24? 22? 26? I can't recall.

There was just one other table occupied when we were there and they were oblivious to the television. We were not about to let those television go untouched, though. One thing we realized, when you change channel, the flat TV right beside it changes channels too. Oh. That can be quite bothersome if there were more of us feasting on our telenovelas.

The coffee? They serve UCC, the expensive Japanese brand, but they are cheaper here. Maybe because it's Davao and no one pays more than what coffee should cost within reason. So, a cup of Kilimanjaro goes for P80, and a cup of Blue Mountain goes for P120. Not bad for the experience.

Your orders come with one hot towel each, and the waitresses serve you on their knees. That's because the carved, gaudy, golden tables are your typical center tables... low.

The food? They only serve sandwiches, desserts, and one pizza. We got the pizza. It's good, but not thin crust. We got the Japanese pudding, its leche flan without the loads of sugar. And we got the blueberry cheesecake, it's very sweet.

The experience, however, wasn't enough for one night, and so when coffee buddy Paringbert flew in to town, I dragged him right off, only to find Ross and his wife there.

I dragged Fr. Alejo and other coffee buddy Mabel A. the following night and saw Boyet there.

Is the place really good? With the limited menu, it's not for those who want to binge. But the visual delight is definitely worth more than one visit.

And yes, don't forget to try their bathroom faucet in the restroom before you leave.

What's more fascinating is that, this place will be turning one year old on October 24. One year, and we didn't hear about it until very recently. Hmmm...

By the way, the place closes at 11 p.m.