Le Menu Classique Français

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in France, eat like French.

Reading a French menu is not only tricky with pronunciations (that writes something else and pronounces a totally different word) but also to order the right food. Some of the common names that you would find in a French menu are fromage, potage, entrée, sorbet or relevé. Many of us might not have even heard of these words. So I decided to write on the typical and Classical French Menu.

1. Hors d’oeuvres

Pronounced as or-dov: In English, it means Appetizer/Starter/First-course. The dishes served in this course are tangy, salty, sour or spicy in nature. They encourage salivation and production of various digestive juices, thereby stimulating appetite.

Caviar or Cavier: It is the roe (eggs) of Sturgeon fish, usually found in the Caspian Sea.  This can be had with toast and butter, pancakes (blinis), shallots and parsley or yolk of a white hardboiled egg.

Pate de foie gras (Goose liver paste) – pronounced as Paate-di-foaa-graa: Treasured as one of the most impeccable foods, this delicacy is eaten with hot toast & butter, salads, and truffles.

Saumon Fume, better known as Smoked Salmon – It is a renowned Scottish delicacy. It is cut paper-thin for smoking the Fillets and goes well with brown bread and butter, lemon wedges, cayenne pepper or pepper mill.

Some examples of Indian hors d’oeuvres are Pani-Puri, crunchy fried dals, Chickpeas with chopped onion, cilantro & lemon juice or samosa.

2. Potage 

Derived from the word “Potted Dish” from Old French, Potage is a category of thick soup. Porridge and stew are also categorized as Potage. These soups or stews have meat, vegetables or any solid item floating in it.

–          Consommé: It is clear amber colored transparent soup made from richly-flavored egg or beef or veal or chicken stock.

–          Crème: These are thick passed soup finished with cream.

–          Chowder: These are thick heavy soups thickened with potato starch & heavily flavored with seafood.


Consists of shellfish and any fish dishes. It can be freshwater fish or seawater fish. Poisson can be had as whole-fried, fillets, slits and balls.

Mostly cooked in sauces, this dish gives an extravagant touch to the food.

Boulettes de Poisson – Senegalese Fish balls cooked in tomato sauce

Poulet Yassa – Fish slits in Mustard Marinade or Sauce

Brochettes de Poisson – Herb seasoned fish brochettes using wild thyme and olive oil.


4. Entrée

Pronounced as “aun-trey” meaning Entry of meat course. Small well-garnished meat dishes ready for service.  A rich sauce often accompanies them.
Scotch Eggs: Hard boiled eggs covered with a layer of minced meat and deep fried.  A rich sauce often accompanies them.

Sausages and Offals (kidney, liver, brain etc).

Chicken Satay: Oriental preparation of small boneless pieces of chicken cooked in a skewer served with hot peanut sauce.


5. Releve

Pronounced as “ri-lafe” meaning Main Course. Also known as “piece de resistance; this course is larger than entrées and consists of usually large joints of meat and poultry.

Poulet Saute Chasseur:  Sauteed Chicken with White wine, concasse tomato, demi-glaze, mushrooms, and shallots.

Lancashire Hot Pot: White stew made from boneless mutton. Served in the same dish in which cooking is done.

Chicken Maryland: Chicken breast dipped in egg, rolled in breadcrumbs and shallow fried. Accompaniments are banana fritters, grilled tomatoes, grilled bacon rashers, and sweet-corn pancakes.

Beef Stroganoff: Beef stew with pimentos, celery, mushrooms, and onions served on a bed of steam rice.



Pronounced as “saur-bay. Because of the length of the French Menu, this course is considered to be rest between the courses. Rest to eat meals or courses. Examples would be iced water or juices. These are refreshing and delicious drinks.

Sorbet a La Sicilienne: Iced water with melon pulp flavored with champagne and served chilled in a stemmed glass

Granit: It is a fresh pineapple or strawberry juice with sweetened whipped cream. parfait glass with a parfait spoon.

Sorbert a La Americaine: Lemon or Grape juice flavored with champagne, served chilled in a stemmed glass


7. Rôti

Here Rôti Means Roast. This course consists of roasted Game birds or poultry or animals. Be it, Red meat or White meat, it’s served roasted.

Rôti de Porc Pommes – Roasted pork with potatoes cooked in a slow cooker

Rôti de poulet – Roasted chicken with herbs and cooked in herb butter.

Rôti de veau – Roasted veal with carrots and cooked in a casserole.


8. Légume

Pronounced as “lay-gume” meaning vegetable dishes. In a vegetarian menu this course would become the main course, otherwise, it is a side course. Types of vegetables are used in making of this course. Mostly used to prepare salads and boiled vegetables. These are accompanied by sauces.

Choufleur Polonaise – Cauliflower cooked with fried bread crumbs served with sieved egg yolks and parsley.

Cold Asparagus – Asparagus served cold with mayonnaise sauce. If hot asparagus is to

be cooked, it will be accompanied by hollandaise sauce or melted butter.

Champignon Grille – Simple meaning is Grilled mushrooms. Served with hot n sour sauce.

Pommes-au-four – Potatoes are baked in a jacket. Mostly accompanied by cayenne pepper, pepper mill, and butter.


9. Entremet

Pronounced as “aun-truh-may” meaning sweet course. Entrement is a sweet course. Hot and cold puddings, cakes and Indian sweets are served in this course. These days, this course is merged with the dessert course. Some menu examples would be –

Indian Sweets – Rosogolla, Phirni, Gajar ka halwa, kheer, and jalebi.

Apple straddles – thinly rolled out pastry filled with cooked apples and flavored with cinnamon.

Crème Caramel – Egg custard with caramelized sugar on top.

Fruit Savarin – Fermented yeast cake topped with custard sauce and baked.

Baked Alaska – Layers of sponge cake with ice-cream, fruits etc., topped with meringue and flambéed.



Pronounced as “savuh-ry”; this course has dishes for guests who do not wish to have sweets at the end of the meal and can choose savory to close their meal. Savoureux is small tit-bits of canapé or toast or a small portion of toast with toppings on which spicy fillings are placed.

Welsh rarebit – Grated cheddar cheese mixed with beer and seasonings bound with a liaison of eggs and cream.

Angels on Horsebacks – Poached oysters wrapped in streaky bacon and grilled.

Devils on Horseback – Stoned prunes rolled in streaky bacon and grilled.

Quiche Lorraine – Shortcrust pastry filled with cubes of bacon and cheese, covered with egg custard and baked.

Canapés – Small open sandwiches with any combination of dainty toppings. Can be served hot or cold.


11. Fromage

Pronounced as “fro-maaj”; it means Cheese. All types of cheeses are served from a cheese board or a cheese trolley.

Stilton – Classic English cheese made from cow’s milk and has blue veins. Usually had with Port wine.

Gorgonzola – Classic Italian cheese, which is soft and sharp, flavored. Has greenish veins.

Leicester – Hard English russet colored cheese with a crumbly texture.

Pecorino – Hard Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk.

Brie – French soft cheese made from cow’s milk since 8th century.


12. Café (Beverages)

Café is Coffee. Coffee is served in a demitasse with a coffee-spoon, with or without milk.

Café Noir – Black Coffee

Espresso – Black Italian coffee with brown sugar infused with hot steam to form a frothy look

Cappuccino – Same as espresso but with milk and garnished with cinnamon powder.

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