Afternoon tea at LondonHouse and an Evanston cafe
By Joanne Trestrail
Every now and then, meeting with a client over formal afternoon tea service instead of lunch makes a nice change. Two new places come at the idea from distinctly different perspectives: One clicks; the other doesn't.
Cafe Coralie, which opened in February, is a fine option for people who live or work in Evanston. Its decor is as sweet as its desserts, with tufted banquettes, bentwood chairs and assorted cafe tables, some of which have Eiffel Tower bases.
A sibling of downtown Evanston's Patisserie Coralie, the cafe serves the same artfully rendered French pastries and offers the same tea service (noon to 4 p.m. daily; reserve 24 hours in advance) in a space that's larger and cushier than the original. The fixed menu ($22 per person) includes a pot of tea (14 kinds to consider) and a three-tiered tower of tasty, crustless finger sandwiches, macarons, madeleines, tiny eclairs, petit fours and more. Buttery molded canele cakes will restore your faith in humanity, or at least in people passionate about pastry.
Everything we ate was perfectly fresh and served with tuned-in efficiency by personable young staffers. The presentation is simple and execution is spot-on.