A Cardigan restaurant that only opened its doors in July has reached the finals of the UK Star Wine List of the Year award.

The Boys and Girls restaurant is run by Cardigan residents Mattia Ivaldi and the restaurant’s chef, Ella Roberts.

The two decided to open the restaurant as a way of following their own path. With the closure of the El Salsa restaurant, they had their opportunity to go their own way.

Mattia said: “We decided it was time to follow our own path and open our own place. We saw El Salsa was closing and we put an offer in on the building. We’re a very young restaurant, but we’re confident in what we do.”

Boys and Girls
Boys and Girls co-owners, Director Mattia Ivaldi and Chef, Ella Roberts (Boys and Girls)

Within months of opening, the new restaurant owners applied for the UK Star Wine List of the Year award. The award judges restaurants, wine shops and other venues in a variety of categories which look at the list of wines they each offer.

Boys and Girls is the only Welsh business to have made it to the finals across all categories. The restaurant made it to the finals in the sustainability category.

The restaurant will be judged against its competition based on the wines they offer. But unlike other categories, the sustainability category also judges how the business runs its day to day operations.

Mattia said: “The sustainability category goes more in depth than the others, the judgement is a combination of how sustainably we run our restaurant, as well as how sustainable and exciting our wines list is.”

Reaching the finals is ‘an incredible experience’ to Mattia, who feels great seeing the work of everyone at Boys and Girls being recognised.

He said: “I feel great, it’s been nice getting recognition for our hard work, especially in a field as important as sustainability.

“Especially when you consider our size and how young of a restaurant we are, it’s amazing to see ourselves alongside the big names from the industry.

“We love to champion Welsh natural winemakers. The Welsh natural wine scene is really alive at the minute with exciting producers such as Ancre Hill Estates, Mountain People and Hebron Vineyard. It is an honour to be the only Welsh venue in the finals.

“We are confident in what we do, and we had hopes we could get to the final. But actually being here is an incredible experience and a really big surprise.”

The UK Star Wine List of the Year Award ceremony takes place next week on Monday 4 March in London.

But the work towards sustainability won’t stop there for the staff at Boys and Girls. Mattia highlighted how the restaurant is working with a climate change charity called Cool Earth to help tackle climate change related issues in South America and across the globe.