Diners left frustrated by 'confusing' menu jargon

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Diners left frustrated by 'confusing' menu jargon

Related tags: Vegetable, Opentable

Restaurants have been urged to avoid overly-complicated menus with the average diner struggling to know their Brunoise from their Beignet, a new study has found.

According to research from OpenTable, eight out of ten people feel menus can be ‘overly confusing’, and over half admitted to having to ask a waiter to explain an item they didn’t understand.

The study ranked Salmagundi - a 17th​ century salad dish – as the most confusing menu term, ahead of 'Buccan' cooked meat and Mirepoix.

Fred Sirieix, general manager at Galvin at Windows, said restaurants needed avoid alienating diners.

"[This] research shows that people in the UK can get frustrated with over complicated food terms,” he said.

“Restaurants need to be more conscious of the way their menus are written as the recent research shows people like them to be clear, concise and without confusing jargon."

The top 10 most confusing words on British restaurant menus, as voted for by OpenTable's survey of 2000 diners, were:

1. Salmagundi​ - a salad dish, originating in the early 17th century in England.

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

3. Beignet​ - a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry.

4. Mirepoix ​- a roughly chopped vegetable cut, usually a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery. 

5. Brunoise​  - a mixture of finely diced vegetables fried in butter and used to flavour soups and sauces.

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

7. Gyro​ - a Greek dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, usually served in a pita or sandwich, with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.

8. Veal Hongroise​ – Veal served with a paprika-flavoured Sauce Velouté. 

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

10. 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.

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