From today, Monday 8th April, the newly opened Capilungo in Covent Garden will expand its all-day café offering by launching its new basement bar, for customers to while away evenings enjoying hyper-local delicacies from Lecce, freshly baked ‘Pizzette Pugliese’ and a range of interesting Apulian wines and classic aperitivo style cocktails.

Nestled beneath the bakery, situated on Long Acre, the 26-cover bar and seating area transports guests to the rustic street cafes and sunset evenings enjoyed in Lecce. The low-lit, terracotta-hued space is offset by the central dark wood bar, stocked with Italian wines, aperitifs and digestifs to be enjoyed alongside the specially curated evening menu. Capilungo’s inviting interiors and sharing menu are inspired by founders, brother and sister duo Gianluca and Asia Capilungo‘s hometown of Lecce, where the very first Capilungo bakery was started back in 1991 by their uncle, Luca.  

The newly devised aperitivo menu is centred around the freshly baked ‘Pizzette Pugliese.’ Made using a speciality potato flour, in a focaccia style and topped the Salento way, with confit tomatoes, it perfectly complements the crunchy crust and soft and tender base. Provenance and hyper-locality are at the heart of Capilungo, and Head Chef Luca has carefully sourced the finest ingredients from artisan producers in Puglia to be used across the day and evening menus. 

There is a varied range of Pizzette Pugliese on offer, including the ‘Contadina’ which is topped with artichoke hearts, roasted aubergine and tomatoes, or the ‘Fantastica’ laden with creamy Stracciatella cheese, pistachio and mortadella. Whilst the Salento Sizzle layers subtly smoked burrata, and spicy salami on tomato sauce. The new menu also sees a selection of small plates from topped bruschetta, to cured meat and cheese boards, and of course features the Lecce favourite and speciality for Capilungo, the ‘Rustico‘ which sees mozzarella and tomato delicately encased in puff pastry – the perfect bite to be enjoyed day or night. 

There is also an extensive hyper-local wine list available downstairs at Capilungo that includes bottles from independent producers and small farms, with a focus on regional and indigenous varieties from Puglia and the neighbouring region of Salento. Guests will be able to discover unique bottles and grape varieties from the area; a reflection of the co-owners’ diverse tastes, from the classic and well-loved Primitivo di Manduria, to more unusual varieties like Ottavianello in Ostuni, as well as some special select premium single variety wines, to name a few.

To complete the aperitivo offering there is also a selection of spritz-style drinks and playful takes on classic Italian cocktails, curated by Gianluca Capilungo (former Bar Manager of Aqua Restaurant Group) to be enjoyed. Guests can choose between delicate citrus drinks or bold chocolate flavours; the ‘Agrodolce’ combines Tanqueray Gin, vermouth, Savoia Americano and balsamic chocolate, or why not try the refreshing ‘Americano My Way’ which mixes Savoia Americano, Italicus with an effervescent pink grapefruit soda. 

Capilungo opened late last year and is the first of its kind in the UK to offer an Italian experience inspired by the picturesque city of Lecce. With a shared passion for quality food and drink, the family is excited to bring a Lecce-inspired aperitivo to London, the perfect spot for a bite before the theatre, post-work drinks and intimate dinners, or for those simply looking to escape the city for the night. 


Sam Allcock, a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of expertise in Food & Drink Editorial.

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