Who fancies a Peruvian farm-reared, shaolin-monk-blessed, fairy-dust-sprinkled shank of whats-a-mi-giblit? Anyone?

Report image

Via: Getty

Adding fancy descriptions to menus with the aim of enticing customers to spend more is not a new piece of restaurant trickery. It is, if used sparingly, an effective one – research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign proved that evocative adjectives can raise food sales by 27%. 


But it looks like this know-how has been adopted with a little too much zeal by the hospitality industry, as a new survey has shown that punters are being left annoyed by OTT descriptions. 


The research, from restaurant booking site OpenTable found that 80% of people asked said menus can be "overly confusing" and lead to needing to ask waiters for help about what's what. Out of the 2,000 people surveyed, here are the 10 menu items diners found the most baffling. 


1. Salmagundi

What is it? 

Essentially a big salad that first originated in the 17th century made up of leaves, meat or fish, nuts and edible flowers, dressed in oil, vinegar and spices. 



2. Buccan cooked meat

What is it? 

The south American name for cooking meat on a wooden frame over fire. (A primitive barbecue, basically.) 



3. Beignet 

What is it? 

A French term for a deep-fried piece of sugar-dusted choux pastry (stop salivating). Popular in New Orleans, hence a spate across recent menus due to eateries like street food truck Hank's Po' Boys making the deep south's food accessible. 



4. Mirepoix

What is it? 

Finely chopped onions, carrots and celery, used to add a flavour base for stews or soups. 



5. Brunoise

What is it? 

A load of chopped veg fried in butter – again, used as a base for dishes.



6. Chiffonade

What is it? 

Leafy greens (like spinach) chopped into long, thin strips. 



7. Gyro 

What is it? 

A Greek way of cooking rotisserie meat, usually wrapped up in a flatbread or pitta – a sort of posh kebab. 



8. Veal hongroise

What is it? 

Veal (naturally) in a creamy, paprika sauce. 



9. Ceviche 

What is it? 

A Peruvian staple of raw fish "cooked" in citrus juices and chilli. Enjoying a moment thanks to Martin Morales's two London restaurants named for the dish, and Soho street-truck-turned-casual-joint, Señor Ceviche.



10. Lardo  

What is it? 

The layer of fat beneath a pig's skin, cured with rosemary and spices, AKA the best thing ever. 


Got any other menu descriptions you find too much? Let us know on Twitter, @Homemade.



Like this? Then try these:

And for more fun foodie stuff direct to your inbox, sign up to our weekly newsletter