Do you know what a mirepoix is? How about a salmaguni or beignet? Don't worry, we've got no idea either.

These are three of the most misunderstood menu items in Australia, according to new research from online booking service OpenTable. Reaching for Google to translate an ingredient or pointing nervously at that wine you can't pronounce is now part and parcel with eating out.

Restaurant menus are becoming more difficult to decipher and 83 per cent of Australian diners say menus are "unnecessarily confusing", as our appetite for different dining experiences increases, the research found.

When unsure of how to pronounce an item, the research found 47 per cent of diners will point to it on the menu when making their order, while 37 per cent will attempt to pronounce it without asking for wait staff assistance. Almost 75 per cent have to ask wait staff to explain an item on a menu and 40 per cent say they feel uncomfortable having to ask for clarification of unfamiliar culinary terms and naming conventions.

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So why do restaurants do this? Is it all just super pretentious, or is there a reason behind it all?

Delicious magazine editor-in-chief Kerrie McCallum says collating a menu is a "fine art form" which should fit in with the vibe and message behind the restaurant.

"You can have restaurants that are doing menus which just list three ingredients - like pork, apple, cauliflower - where you really have to use your imagination, right through to restaurants that have written essays on the produce and the producers and where it was sourced from," Ms McCallum told news.com.au.

"Customers are pretty good at sniffing out when it's pretentious and unnecessary. They want a new experience, but they don't want it to be OTT or ridiculous," Ms McCallum said.

"It needs to feel natural and that you're learning a little about the chef and what they're doing, so you can go away and talk about the experience. It is really off-putting when you see a menu that is just pretentious for pretentiousness' sake."

She said if the menu doesn't fit with the ethos of the restaurant, it won't be successful.

ROTORUA DAILY POST | Business
11 Feb, 2017 9:00am
3 minutes to read

"If you're using fancy words and ingredients just for the sake of it, you're not great at what you're doing anyway. If it doesn't taste great and it wasn't a great experience, the customer isn't coming back. We want comfort and familiarity but also to learn and try something different," she said.

To help customers out, OpenTable has created a new dictionary for difficult-to-understand food terms. We've collated some of the more unusual ones below.

Aerated mousse: Made by charging a liquid, usually melted chocolate, with gas to form a solid mousse

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

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

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: Amixture 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

Chiffonnade: 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

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

Fricassee: French stew traditionally served in a thick white sauce

Gazpacho: Cold soup made from raw vegetables, usually with a tomato base

Gratinated: To cook with a covering of breadcrumbs or cheese until a crisp layer forms on top

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

Lardo: Aunique 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

Meunière: Is a sauce that features a combination of brown butter, chopped parsley and lemon, mainly used to marinate fish

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 sauteed 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

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

Shakshuka: A Moroccan inspired dish of poached eggs based in a tomato sauce of chilli peppers, onions and spiced cumin

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

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

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