With a priceless antique tea cup in hand, you can enjoy world-class pastries (described in mouth-watering detail) at the Antique Bakery. You may also get a glimpse of the eclectic staff: the scruffy but savvy owner Tachibana, a boxer turned sous-chef Kanda, and a "demonically charming" gay, master pastry chef Ono. Ono has men falling at his feet all the time, which makes working in the male-dominated chef world hazardous to say the least. Tachibana is the one man who seems to be able to resist his unconscious allure, so Ono is delighted to create the delicate, flavorful pastries for the bakery and not get fired for usually inevitable jealous hassles. Once Kanda tastes Ono's legendary pastries, he abandons his tough guy posturing to learn at the feet of a great master pastry chef.
The key to this series is the humorous escapades of both the staff and the customers all drawn with expressive, elegant lines. The plot isn't usually the point --- the reaction shots are, and the confections are the stuff of culinary dreams. Plus, how can you not win with a scratch-n-sniff cover? Mmm, strawberries.
Reviewed by Robin Brenner on August 16, 2005