Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 Oven REVIEW
It fries perfectly crisp hot chips, pops popcorn like a pro and cooks a whole chicken to perfection. PAT PILCHER takes the miraculous Combi Wave through its paces.
I’ve long been a fan of air fryers. Knocking out a batch of crispy French fries using only a tablespoon of oil and an air fryer seems almost miraculous. But Air fryers are bulky appliances. It’s difficult to justify one taking up valuable kitchen bench space given they are essentially a one-trick pony. Further adding to my kitchen woes is the existing microwave bought many years ago at the red shed. There’s no other way to put it. It’s a terrible appliance. Take defrosting, for example – everything is scorched around the edges yet still frozen solid in the middle. Gah!
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So, you can imagine my glee when I stumbled upon Breville’s Combi Wave 3- in-1. It’s an inverter microwave, an air fryer, plus a convection oven. Not only does it free up kitchen space, but it effortlessly cranks out great food ranging from crispy french fries to perfectly roasted chicken.
Anyone familiar with a microwave will know that while they can cook, the taste of their finished food leaves a lot to be desired… at least that was until I got hold of the Combi Wave.
Done out in a slick stainless-steel finish, the Combi Wave has a large LCD display and the backlighting turns orange when it’s cooking. The controls are relatively straightforward, consisting of several mode buttons/dials on its front and start and stop controls. Opening its door reveals a selection of other controls on its inside edge for various cooking modes. These range from popcorn through to cooking from frozen. The design is attractive but also clever in that powerful cooking features are made simple.
So, just how good is the Combi Wave? Compared to our aging el-cheapo microwave, the smarts available in the Combi Wave are like a breath of fresh air. I put them to the test by roasting a chook. Now, unless you like flavourless dried rubber, cooking a whole chicken in a microwave makes no sense at all. The Combi Wave guided me through the entire process and delivered perfect results. This is big news in our house as roasts are my bete noire. I can happily make all manner of complicated dishes, but roasting has always been a case of trial and error, with error winning more often than not.
This time, the chicken (and veggies) emerged from the Combi Wave perfectly roasted. The chicken’s skin was beautifully browned and crisp, the meat was perfectly cooked through but moist and tender. The roast veggies were perfectly roasted too.
Further testing revealed that the 19 pre-sets available on the Combi Wave worked brilliantly. I particularly liked the popcorn pre-set. It popped a bag of popcorn so well that there were no un-popped corns left in the bag, and there were no burnt corns either. Similarly, defrosting is a revelation. The Combi Wave asks what you’re defrosting and its approximate weight. Based on this, frozen food is gently heated, so nothing is scorched (or left frozen). The pre-sets work so well that using it is often a case of press a button and let the Combi Wave do the rest.
So how does this culinary magic happen? First and foremost, the Combi Wave is an inverter microwave. Unlike most microwave ovens that use a magnetic coil or a transformer to blast food with microwaves, an inverter needs less energy, and heat is distributed more evenly. It is also eerily quiet. Where our old Microwave sounded like a small aircraft taking off, I could barely hear the Combi Wave.
Nuking capabilities aside, the air fryer impressed me. I was able to knock together a plate of crisp french fries in 20 minutes using just a tablespoon of olive oil and some potatoes I’d washed, peeled, and cut. I also liked that instead of dealing with the greasy mess of a deep fryer or pan filled with oil, I had one non-stick dish that was a doddle to clean.
If there is a downside, it’s price. While most similarly sized Microwave ovens cost $400, the Combi Wave costs nearly double that at $799.95. That said, if you were to purchase an air fryer, a convection oven and a Microwave separately, you’d probably end up spending considerably more than the Combi Wave’s sticker price.
For anyone living in a small apartment or who is similarly space-constrained, the Combi Wave really is the business. Not only do you get a sexy stainless-steel microwave, but you get an air fryer and convection oven without sacrificing additional kitchen bench space. Given its intuitive design, excellent pre-sets, and the delicious results it produced, I’m giving it Witchdoctor’s top rating.