Spalding House Cafe to reopen with a new chef and menu

Not to be outdone by the Honolulu Museum of Art's renovation, the Spalding House Cafe is undergoing its own new year's facelift. It's closed for most of January for kitchen renovations and will reopen January 25 with a new chef and new menu.

In the kitchen: Susan Lai Hipp, previously at Whole Foods Kahala, 3660 on the Rise and Kakaako Kitchen.

On the menu: contemporary takes on familiar food, like deviled eggs with ajvar, a Serbian red pepper puree; Caesar salad updated with kale and bubu arare; and a wintry brussel sprouts salad with beets and butternut squash. For sandwiches, expect veggie paninis, grilled cheese, and a classic Italian panini with salami, ham, provolone and sweet peppers.

And don't forget the Lauhala and Lunch ($30), a picnic basket for two, complete with tatami mats to dine on the Spalding House's expansive lawn overlooking Honolulu.

The 10-minute drive up Tantalus is an easy escape from downtown Honolulu, it's the trip back down to reality that's the hard part.

Spalding House Cafe reopens January 25, Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House, 2411 Makiki Heights Dr., 808-237-5225

Open Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday noon to 2 p.m.