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Tried & Tested: Restronaut

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I’m ancient by Dubai standards. While most people consider themselves old-timers if they’ve lived here for 5 years, next year I’ll be celebrating 20 years of living in Dubai. And as much as I love Dubai, there are a few pitfalls of living here that long, which especially affect your social life.

For one, it’s a fairly transient city so most people only end up staying for a few years at a time. And it’s a small and cliquey city – you generally only socialize with people who you work with or have known for years. So after all these years, when I’m craving something fresh in my social circle, what do I do? Enter Restronaut – Dubai’s latest startup that promises to “make social, social again.”

Image courtesy: Instagram @LeithMatthews

Restronaut is the brianchild of Leith Matthews, who is also the founder of the very hip urban workspace MAKE Business Hub (and if you haven’t yet heard of or visited this place, you desperately need Restronaut).  The idea of Restronaut is to explore new restaurants and meet like-minded people at the same time. On the Restronaut website, you can sign up to attend a “table” that is based around a common theme, interest, or a person. The table is held at a premium pre-selected restaurant with a set menu that you’ve prepaid for to allow an uninterrupted social experience. You can even host a table yourself for others to attend!

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Last week, I ended up attending the launch dinner of Restronaut which was centered around Faris Khalifeh, a well-known communications professional who I hadn’t had the chance to officially meet before. I decided to book the table since I’m still trying to firm up my position in the digital marketing sphere and would finally be able to visit one of my restaurants on my “to eat” list: Sho Cho at the Dubai Marine Beach Resort.

Put 10-15 people who all have an interest in digital media and give them great food and drinks, the conversation flows extremely easily. In the first few minutes I realized that Faris was married to the sister of one of the girl’s I went to high school with. While the social connection had already existed, Restronaut allowed us to socially connect!

If you’re looking to meet new people or just want to experience something different from the usual, check out Restronaut. The are currently in beta, but check out the Facebook page to be informed of upcoming tables. I might just have to host a Bollywood aficionados table in the near future!

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