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Fancy Restaurant Menu Jargon Decoded Part 2

Fancy Restaurant Menu Jargon Decoded Part 2

As promised, we’re providing you with an extended version of restaurant jargon. What can we say? Except for the fact that Marina Club simply loves you and wants to make sure your dining experience is one you can relish.

Depending on region, some of these terms may be very familiar or totally unfamiliar. There are so many variations from country to country, village to village and even restaurant to restaurant in the same village. Some companies even choose to opt for deconstructed versions of traditional, French-inspired techniques and dishes. It’s also interesting to point out that certain places even have their own unique restaurant jargon with traditional words coined by their own creative team. Nevertheless, we thought the below list should suffice…

Amuse-bouche – a complimentary one bite-sized hors d’oeuvre, typically served before the start of your meal, intended to “amuse” the mouth.

Au jus – literally, “with [its own] juice”, meaning, a sauce made up of the juice of the meat in your dish.

Bouillon – a broth of celery, onions and carrots, herbs, vegetables and veal, beef or chicken bones.

Braised – a technique of cooking in which the meat is seared on high-heat, then cooked in liquid for several hours until it becomes very tender and you can easily pull it apart.

Burrata – a fresh Italian cheese made of mozzarella and cream.

Chimichurri – a green sauce, typically made of parsley & oil.

Cobia – a type of fish also referred to as “black salmon” even though it’s not in the salmon family.

Compote – similar to a jam, except whole pieces of fruit that are stewed in a syrup and served as part of a dessert.

Confit – a cooking technique whereby meat that’s slowly poached in its own fat, at a much lower temperature than frying. Most commonly duck is cooked this way. This word sometimes also describes food cooked in any fat (not just its own) or even in sugar (for fruit).

Consommé – a perfectly clarified broth, with no food particles in it, made by combining ground meat, mirepoix, tomatoes and egg whites to remove any fat or sediment from the liquid and then discarded.

Coulis – a thick, smooth sauce made from fruit or vegetables that have been pureed and sieved. This can be used as a base for soups or other sauces.

Cotija – a hard cow’s milk cheese that originated from Mexico.

Crudo – the Italian word for “raw”.

Demi-glace – a sauce made of greatly reduced stock and (traditionally) thickened by roux. Although, it’s very common that the roux is left out.

Entrecôte – a premium cut of beef that comes from the rib area of the animal.

Foie gras – fattened duck or goose liver that can be served as a mousse, parfait or pâté and can be pan-seared.

Gastrique – a sauce (usually made to flavour other sauces) with equal parts caramelized sugar & vinegar.

Gremolata – an Italian garnish of raw, finely chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest. There are quite a few variations, but lemon zest is a constant. It’s usually sprinkled over slow-cooked braised meats, such as Osso Bucco, but also complements grilled fish or chicken.

Hamachi – a Japanese amberjack fish very often served raw – sashimi style.

Maki/Nigiri/Sashimi – like all types of sushi, maki is rolled in seaweed with rice, vegetables, and (usually) raw fish. Nigiri is a piece or slice of your main ingredient on top of a clump of rice. Sashimi is a thin slice of raw fish or other ingredient.

Mole – a general name for a variety of Mexican sauces – most commonly made with chili peppers and chocolate.

Noisette butter (Beurre noisette) – unsalted butter that has been lightly browned.

Parfait – parfaits can be sweet or savoury with many variations gracing the culinary world. In the traditional French sense, they’re smooth and consist of a layering of ingredients. A sweet parfait in France tends to be a frozen dessert that composed of egg, whipped cream, sugar and flavouring, which is in a mould and can be sliced. An ‘American parfait’, on the other hand, resembles more of a sundae with layers of ice cream, syrup, cream and fruit. Common savoury parfaits include duck and rabbit liver.

Pavé – actually meaning ‘cobblestone’, this term refers to a square (or rectangular) shaped – sweet or savoury – serving of food.

Provencale (a la) – a dish which includes garlic, tomatoes and olive oil and sometimes, black olives.

Romesco – a nut and red pepper based sauce.

Rouille – a sauce made using olive oil with breadcrumbs, garlic, egg yolks, saffron, cayenne pepper and chillies. Goes great with fish dishes and fish soups.

Tartare – a dish made from finely chopped raw meat or fish, such as steak, venison, tuna or salmon.

Tempura – a Japanese technique of cooking where the food (usually fish or vegetables) is battered and deep fried.

Terrine – a terrine is a ceramic dish with a lid in which food is cooked. When on a menu this refers to what has actually been cooked inside. A terrine is very similar to a pâté, except that the latter is baked in a crust.

Umami – an overly used term supposed to describe a fifth taste (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami). It’s a strong meaty taste imparted by glutamate and certain other amino acids.

Restaurant menus are loaded with terms, ingredients, and preparations that are unfamiliar to even the veteran diner. Luckily you have Marina Club to help you brush up on commonly used but unknown words. So since now you can easily decode a menu, why not book a table at our lovely restaurant. We’re located at heart of the stunning Valletta Waterfront. Click here for further information or to make your reservation.