Opening 13th December in the heart of Covent Garden, Capilungo will be the first of its kind in London and promises an Italian experience inspired by the cafés found along the winding streets of Puglia’s picturesque city, Lecce. Café by day and wine bar by night, Capilungo’s offering will focus on quality ingredients and provenance, with a menu championing Lecce’s hyper-local delicacies, from freshly baked ‘pasticciotto’ and ‘rustico’, burrata salads and cured meats, to Pugliese wines, aperitivo, and cocktails.
Co-founded by Lecce-born brother and sister duo Gianluca and Asia Capilungo, their uncle Luca Capilungo, and Asia’s partner Huzefa Sajawal (co-owner and Executive Chef of Fatt Pundit), the new concept will be an entirely familial affair. Inspired by Uncle Luca, who has run his own much-loved Lecce bakery since 1991, the pair sought to bring his passion for specialty Lecce cuisine to London. Uncle Luca, who began baking aged 14, is both the inspiration behind the brand and its head chef. Whilst Asia (ex-Soho House and The Cubbit House) will oversee the management of the venture, drinks expert Gianluca (former Bar Manager of Aqua Restaurant Group) will bring his mixology knowledge to the table, concentrating on aperitivo-style drinks and twists on classic cocktails.
Situated on Long Acre, the 15-cover Capilungo will serve a concise menu centred around the iconic ‘pasticciotto’ and ‘rustico’ pastries which can only be found in the southern city of Lecce. These sweet, shortcrust ‘pasticciotto’ pies will be filled with pastry creams – think custard, cherry or pistachio – and, as they do in Lecce, are best eaten for breakfast alongside a shot of espresso. On the savoury front, mozzarella and aubergine ‘rusticos’, delicately encased in puff pastry, and pizzettas will make Capilungo the perfect spot for a light bite, at any time of day. As the day transitions into evening, a concise cocktail list, and selection of wines exclusively from Puglia and the neighbouring region of Salento, will be served alongside traditional Lecce-style bar snacks and small plates.
Capilungo’s inviting interiors are designed by Love Poploskie Studio and feature a calming colour palette of soft terracotta and olive green, reminiscent of the hues of Lecce’s streets. The cafe’s high ceilings, cacti pendants, glass windows and stone-washed linen curtains create a bright and airy space flooded with natural light, with counter seating offering a relaxed eating and drinking area for those wanting to stay a little longer.
In spring 2024, Capilungo will open downstairs, providing a dedicated bar area for cocktails and additional seating.