The Australian Fine Dining Cheat Sheet

From different cooking methods, to the perfect wine to pair your meal with, learn the terminology for fine dining. Soon you will be asking for the Soup Du Jour with confidence.

Fine dining allows us to break away from the more casual settings and take part in a more formal affair. It is also known as white tablecloth dining, and typically takes place in an upper-class establishment that has a strict dress code, offers a separate wine list and, sometimes, sommeliers to assist with food and fine wine pairings.

Many of the terms found on menus in these luxury dining establishments can seem somewhat intimidating to most people. Especially if you’re not familiar with this kind of experience.

Don’t get distressed, while this is not an in-depth guide to fine dining terminology, we’ll cover enough so you can start talking the talk.

Bowl of soup with garnish

Fine Dining Menus

Á La Carte

Pronounced a-la-cart, this term is used to describe menu items that are priced individually. These items can be purchased on their own instead of as a meal.

Du Jour

Pronounced do-Zhoor, this term describes something that is being served that day. For example, the Soup Du Jour would simply mean “The soup of the day”.

Prix Fixe

Pronounced pre-fiks, this French term describes a fixed or set price. This terminology is usually found on a limited menu or accompanying a course with only 3-4 options. This term is interchangeable with Table d’hote.

Table d’hôte

Pronounced table-dhot, this French term is often interchangeable with Prix Fixe, meaning a set or fixed price. It is often found on a menu that offers multi-choice meals with few options at a set price.

Ceviche Prawns with flower garnish

Fine Dining Foods

Amuse-bouche

Pronounced a-muz-büsh, this French term has a literal meaning of “entertains the mouth.” However, in fine dining, it is most typically referred to as a complimentary appetizer.

Ceviche

Pronounced suh-vee-chee, and also called cebiche, seviche or sebiche, is a South American dish typically consisting of marinated seafood or raw fish, beautifully garnished and served as an appetizer.

Carpaccio

Pronounced kahr-pah-choh, this Italian appetizer, or Hors d’oeuvre, consists of meat or raw fish that is thinly sliced and pounded flat.

Consommé

Pronounced kon-suh-mei, this dish is a clear broth soup made from a concentrated stock or bouillon. It is clarified via a process using egg whites to remove any fats or sediments from the broth.

Foie Gras

Pronounced fwä-ɡrä, this high-end dish is the liver of a specially fattened goose or duck. It is considered a luxury food and a staple of fine dining.

Compote

Pronounced kom-pot, compote is a dessert made from whole or fruit pieces in a sugar syrup. It originates from medieval Europe.

Mezze

Pronounced meh-zei. Traditionally Mediterranean, mezze is a series of small dishes served as appetizers and is meant to stimulate the appetite. It is also commonly served in parts of the Middle East, the Balkans, Greece, and North Africa.

Roe

Pronounced rō, this luxury food item is a mass of fully ripe eggs from a female fish and sometimes includes the ovaries. It is often served on crackers.

Kobe

Pronounced koh-bay, is a luxury beef and a high-grade Wagyu. It hails from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle and is raised under strict guidelines. The beef is fatty, but rich and is considered the best beef in the world.

Raw steak with rosemary

Fine Dining Cooking

Bleu/Saignant

Pronounced say-nyon, the direct translation from French is bloody or bleeding. It is commonly used when ordering rare steak.

Bien cuit

Pronounced ben-kui, this is a French term simply meaning well done.

Crudo

Pronounced kru-do, Italian for “raw”, this is a dish usually consisting of seafood that is often seasoned and served with a sauce.

Artisan

Pronounced ah-te-zen, this means limited quantity, and not mass produced. This means the dish is a specialty item, made by hand and is limited in stock.

Farci

Pronounced fär-see, this is a stuffing served in or on certain dishes.

Granita

Pronounced gra-ne-ta, and originally from Sicily, it is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water, various flavourings or fruit.

Confit

Pronounced Con-fe, this dish is typically goose, duck or pork meat that has been cooked and preserved in its own fat and juices.

Blanched green beans on a plate

Braised

This form of cooking sees the meat seared at a very high temperature and then transferred to a closed pot with liquid, sometimes fat, and cooked at a low temperature.

Blanched

This means to cook fruit or vegetables by briefly placing them into scalding hot water, then quickly removing and placing them in ice water to stop the cooking process.

A la broche

Pronounced a-la-brawsh, this cooking method means to cook on a skewer.

Omakase

Pronounced Oh-mah-kah-say, this is a term that originates from Japan. It is simply a phrase that means “I’ll leave it up to you.” It originates from ‘trust’ and can lead to a unique dining experience.

Glasses of red and white wine with grapes

Fine Dining Drink Terms

Vintage

This term refers to vintage wine where grapes were all (or primarily) grown and harvested in a single year.

Unoaked

This is a wine that is matured without contact to wood.

Table wine

This is a wine that is not sparkling or fortified.

Stickies

This is a variety of sweet wines.

Reserve

This is a very high-quality wine.

Dining table with wine glasses

Magnum

This is a larger bottle of 1.5L.

Hybrid

This is a wine made with 2 or more types of grapes, sometimes from different regions.

Dry

This is a wine that is not thought of as sweet.

Cold duck

A mix of red and white sparkling wine.

Clairet

This is a wine that is somewhere between a light red or dark rosé.

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      Brit McDowell

      Lifestyle Specialist & Subject Matter Expert

      Brit McDowell is a Subject Matter Expert at Localsearch with a background in marketing, business and tourism management. Aside from her specialisation in technical processes, Brit is known for her green thumb and growing succulent collection, love of dogs (especially Dalmatians), eye for home interior and fervour for travel. Brit is also a Lifestyle Specialist on the Localsearch Blog and enjoys sharing her research and knowledge in home and gardening services, food, beauty and general lifestyle tips and tricks.