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Just an idea, as the new owner would be doing you a favour.These are not your cuddly everyday pets, but hairy monsters that would inhabit most people’s bad dreams.The first ever Food and Chatter event was at a now closed Taiwanese restaurant.“I’m from Taiwan, so I thought it would be best to start with something I know so that if I make a mistake, at least I know about the food and I can improvise,” she says, adding a giggle.The 20-odd people listening to this inspiring story at the Congolese eatery in Sea Point, including me, a maths lecturer who recently moved to Cape Town, a travelling business profiler who’s next stop is Angola, a young local couple and a pair of girlfriends, could all certainly relate to the thought of making acquaintances over a meal. As co-founder and organiser of the eating events Lisa Huang explains, “It’s a social dining club for Capetonians and visitors interested in meeting new people and rediscovering Cape Town through food.” Lisa started Food and Chatter, firstly, because she had a knack for throwing dinner parties anyway and, more importantly, as a recent transplant to the city herself (she came in 2010 because of her previous work in finance), she found it pretty hard to make friends.She met her business partner, Ovi Pacuraru, on a couch surfing website, and since October 2012 they’ve been unclicking Cape Town’s cliquishness through unique dinners at restaurants that are off the beaten path.

Pre-set courses also force diners to interact instead of spending the first few minutes at the table studying a menu, and because food is really emotive, people tend to click quickly over a meal.

Not to mention, the occassions introduce diners to the smaller, not-so-popular host restaurants, and gives the eateries opportunity to showcase their signature dishes and let new patrons sample more on the menu than they would on a regular night out.