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OpenTable's menu jargon buster

As the cuisines offered up by restaurants becomes increasingly intricate, so does the language used on the menus. Words such as mirepoix, gyro and fricassee, can cause some diners to be left feeling slightly baffled.

To give you a helping hand when ordering from the menu, we have created a menu jargon buster, which deconstructs some of the trickiest foodie terms.

Below you will find a glossary of the most baffling terms and their meanings, listed in alphabetical order.

During your dining experiences, should you spot any additional menu terms that could cause confusion please share them with us @OpenTableUK using #MenuJargonBuster and we will add them to our glossary.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

A la carte – a menu where food is ordered as separate dishes as opposed to a set meal

Aerated mousse – made by charging a liquid, usually melted chocolate, with gas to form a solid mousse

Aioli – fragrant type of mayonnaise from Provence; made with garlic, olive oil, egg yolks and lemon juice

Amuse Bouche – single, bite sized appetiser served according to the chef's selection and not ordered from a menu by the diner

Antipasto - an appetizer usually consisting of an assortment of foods, such as smoked meats, cheese, fish, and vegetables

Au Poivre – a French term meaning "with pepper", typically describing meats either prepared by coating in coarse ground peppercorns before cooking or accompanied by a peppercorn sauce

Beignet – a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry

Blanched vegetables – vegetables that are plunged into boiling water, removed and plunged into iced water to halt the cooking process

Blanquette de veau – French veal ragout which is cooked to ensure the veal and the butter are not browned

Brochette – food cooked, and occasionally served, on skewers or brochettes

Brunoise – a mixture of finely diced vegetables fried in butter and used to flavour soups and sauces

Buccan cooked meat – meat which is slow-roasted or smoked over a fire on a wooden framework or hurdle

Carpaccio – thinly sliced raw meat or fish usually served as an appetiser

Ceviche – a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of Latin America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers

Charcuterie – term for the products traditionally sold by pork butchers (charcutiers). A charcuterie board is a board of cold cooked meats

Chiffonade – a chopping technique in which herbs or leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and basil, are cut into long, thin strips

Chocolate soil – used as a base or topping in desserts, small pieces of chocolate covered in heated sugar

Compote – fruit cooked in sugar syrup

Confit – food that is cooked slowly over a long period of time as a method of preservation

Croustade – French culinary term for a pie crust usually made of flaky or puff pastry

Crudités – Mixed sliced raw vegetables served as an appetiser which are sometimes dipped into a sauce

Crudo – Italian for "raw"

Devilled – to cook with hot spices and seasoning

En croute – food served in a pastry crust

En Papillote – method of cooking the food in a folded parcel, usually made from parchment paper

Flambé – alcohol is added to a hot pan to create a burst of flames

Foie Gras – luxury food made from the liver of a duck or goose that has been intentionally fattened

Fricassee – French stew traditionally served in a thick white sauce

Gazpacho – cold soup made from raw vegetables, usually with a tomato base

Gnocchi – small, soft dumplings from Italy made from potato and flour served as an alternative to pasta

Gratinated – to cook with a covering of bread crumbs or cheese until a crisp layer forms on top

Gyro – a Greek dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, normally beef, veal, mutton, pork or chicken, or other alternatives such as feta or haloumi cheese, and usually served in a pita or sandwich, with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce

Haggis – A Scottish steamed pudding made of finely minced sheep heart, lungs and liver

Harissa – A North African spice mixture containing chilli, cumin, garlic, coriander and olive oil

Hors d’oeuvres – Small, bite-size foods served as an appetiser

Infusion – The flavour that is extracted from an ingredient (e.g. tea, herbs, fruit) by steeping them in a liquid such as water, oil or vinegar

Jus – the natural juices released from a food as it cooks, usually from meat

Julienne vegetables – culinary knife cut in which vegetables are cut into long thin strips, similar to matchsticks

Kefir – A fermented milk drink similar to a lassi

Kohlrabi – A bulbous member of the cabbage family that tastes similar to turnip

Kosher – Food prepared according to Jewish dietary laws

Lardo - a unique cured pork product produced in Italy. It is made from the thick layer of fat directly below the skin of a pig; the fat is carefully removed and cured in salt and spices so that it can be stored for extended periods of time

Meze - a variety of hot and cold dishes, served together at the beginning of a meal in the Middle East, Greece, and Turkey

Mirepoix - a combination of roughly chopped onions, carrots and celery. Mirepoix, raw, roasted or sautéed with butter or olive oil, is the flavour base for a wide variety of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces

Nage – A flavoured broth used for poaching delicate foods, typically seafood

Navarin – A French stew made with lamb or mutton

Noisette – Small medallions of meat

Nori – Thin dry sheets of seaweed used in Japanese cooking

Offal – Edible internal organs of meat, poultry and game

On the half shell – Usually used to describe oysters served on their bottom shell, usually on a bed of crushed ice

Orzo – Small rice shaped pasta

Pan haggerty – a hearty Northumbrian dish made from potatoes, onions and cheese

Pre-fermented – when baking bread, ingredients are fermented for a long time before mixing all the ingredients to make the final dough, it is a way to get as much flavour as possible out of the ingredients

Quenelle – Food items that are shaped into an oval or egg shape. Quenelle may also refer to a small amount of creamed fish or meat that has been shaped into an oval and then poached

Queso fresco – A fresh Mexican cheese. It is slightly salty and crumbles easily

Quinoa – A high-protein whole grain grown in South America

Roux – a mixture of fat and flour cooked together and used to thicken sauces

Salmagundi - a salad dish, originating in the early 17th century in England, comprising cooked meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, leaves, nuts and flowers and dressed with oil, vinegar and spices

Sashimi – Japanese dish of raw fish presented in bite sized pieces and eaten with soy sauce and wasabi paste

Soufflé – a baked egg-based dish with a risen top served as a savoury starter or sweetened as a dessert

Spatchcock chicken – chicken that has been prepared for cooking by removing the backbone and flattening it out before roasting or grilling

Steak Tartare – made from finely minced raw beef, often mixed with raw egg, onion, and seasonings. It is then shaped into small cakes or patties

Tempered chocolate – a way of making chocolate by controlling the temperature of melted chocolate as it cools. This ensures that the chocolate is made to be shiny, "snapable" and without a white bloom

Terrine – a French meat loaf dish, similar to p pâté, made with more coarsely chopped ingredients

Tomato concasse – tomato that has been peeled, seeded and diced

Udon – Thick wheat noodles used in Japanese cuisine

Unleavened – Bread, cakes and other baked goods made without a raising agent such as baking powder or yeast

Veal hongroise – veal served with a paprika-flavoured Sauce Velouté. It is one of the classic sauces from French cuisine

Welsh rarebit – a savoury sauce of hot melted cheese and other ingredients, such as ale, mustard, pepper and Worcestershire sauce, poured over toasted bread

Xanthan gum – Used as a stabiliser, emulsifier and thickener in dairy products, salad dressings and sauces

Yakitori – A Japanese dish consisting of grilled skewers of meat, fish or vegetables

Zaatar – A Middle Eastern herb mixture composed of savory, thyme, sumac and sesame seeds

Zabaglione – An Italian dessert made from egg yolks, wine and sugar. The ingredients are beaten over simmering water to create a light, foamy custard