A version of this post originally appeared on www.food24.com
What’s the worst that can happen when six strangers meet for dinner? It could go two ways. Either you’ll spend the night checking your phone as the minutes tick by, endure awkward silences and generally just be bored out of your mind. Or you could meet new, interesting people who share your love of good food and wine. It’s a risk, but as a sociological experiment, I just couldn’t say no when invited to attend a dining-with-strangers event in Cape Town.
The broader trends of buying and enjoying experiences rather than things and the rise of the sharing economy have been leading to the creation of such social dining ventures. With Airbnb Experiences you can book a four-course dinner in someone’s home in locales like Lisbon or Bali and on the Eatwith website you can take your pick of meals in dining rooms in London, Nairobi, Tel Aviv and more (great if you're a solo traveler!).
The dinner I joined was hosted by DINE4SIX. They have a slightly different approach as you won't be dining in someone's home. Instead, DINE4SIX allows business travellers, tourists and local “foodies” alike to find a seat at atable for six and enjoy a social dining experience, prepared and presented by a renowned chef. DINE4SIX guests enjoy an exclusive menu, specifically created for each individual event. If you’re not keen on the anonymous aspect of things, you are also allowed to fill a whole table by reserving all six seats. Events can currently be booked in South Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban), in North America (Dallas) and in Europe (Dublin).
We savoured a 4-course menu with wine pairing at the Azure restaurant at The Twelve Apostles; menu prepared by chef Christo Pretorius.
Buttermilk fried chicken wing, sriracha mayo, sour cucumber gel