THE Capital’s restaurant scene is set to lose one of its most colourful characters after it was announced Iggs restaurant is to close after 25 years.
Owner Ignacio Campos, known as Iggy, has become a well-known feature of the Capital’s dining scene as patron of the Jeffrey Street restaurant.
However, the 62-year old Spaniard has now announced plans to hang up his apron as he looks to take a break from the city’s catering scene.
Over the years he has welcomed a host of celebrities and politicians such as Gordon Brown, Nicholas Parsons, Paul Merton and Cliff Richard through the door.
Iggy first opened the doors of his restaurant in July 1989, before expanding two doors along into No 19 in 2000. A year later he bought No 17, creating sister tapas bar Barioja.
The father-of-two said: “I’m sad but it’s a hard business to be in and it takes a lot of work and dedication. I have enjoyed my time immensely and met some wonderful people but the time has come. My children are 18 and 16 years old so too young to pass it on to.
“I’ve worked hard at it over the years and I now look forward to taking a few months off to consider my next move. I hope to run a restaurant again but maybe on a much smaller scale.”
He added: “It’s like a divorce in a way – you don’t want to be too quick in jumping into another marriage.”
Asked what he will miss the most after a quarter of a century at the helm, he said: “The people. Running the place has almost been like a hobby for me I’ve enjoyed it so much.
“I’ll miss each year during the Festival when Nicholas Parsons would come for a meal with the cast of the Just A Minute quiz. It was great fun.”
Serving dinner to TV celebs hasn’t been Iggy’s only brush with the small screen.
In 2012 the restaurant received a makeover from Channel 5 show The Restaurant Inspector – Fernando Peire, the director of London celebrity hang-out, The Ivy.
The landmark premises with views to the north of the city and Calton Hill won’t be left empty for long, as popular Grassmarket restaurant The Mussel and Steak Inn is to open a second branch there.
Originally from Spain’s smallest city, Teruel, to the east of Madrid, Iggy moved to Scotland in the 80s after he married a Dundee girl. He opened a restaurant named Don Quixote in the city before the call of the Capital became too much to resist.
Iggy said: “I had to tell her it’s either back to Spain or Edinburgh. I had always wanted to live in Edinburgh with the castle and thankfully I got my wish.
He added: “I wish The Mussel and Steak Bar the best of luck, I’m sure that it will be a success.”