When the press release for the new Hotpoint MWH 338 SX Supreme Chef Microwave came into our inbox, packing all the functions of a grill, microwave, oven and forced air functionality into one single box, it sounded great for £329. But we did ponder who is it for exactly? So that’s what we’ve been finding out over the past few weeks of culinary intrigue.
Larger than the run of the mill microwave, certainly. Larger than an integrated oven, by no way. It’s a curious combi device at 373mm(H) x 490mm(W) x 540mm(D) which sits in between the two and yet promises the functionality of both, with a 1200W grill, forced air and, of course, the 900W microwave. We suppose what’s truly unique here is how deep this microwave is, offering 33 litres of cavity space. Large pre-made pizzas will find plenty of space here and likewise you can fit three microwavable dishes onto the glass plate! Featuring a black glass front and a brushed stainless steel handle and trim, Hotpoint have created a sleek countertop appliance which, despite the larger bulk of its design, is conscious about all worktop types and has two front rubber feet to produce a clear air gap between the Hotpoint Supreme Chef and worktop below. So passive heat hasn’t scorched or made an impression on our solid oak worktop.
It comes supplied with two dishwasher-safe racks, each a different height, for using the rill and forced air functions. There’s also a crisp plate with detachable handle which, as the name implies, is intended to crisp certain foods; like potatoes into chips. Use of these accessories is straightforward, and the fact the oven door is easy to pull down without needing to wear oven gloves, makes the whole experience whilst using them that bit calmer!
There’s only one physical control on the whole thing and that’s the satisfying rotary knob to adjust timers and settings. To enter any particular function (and there’s a lot of them!) a simple press on any of the LED touch controls corresponding with each function will engage the process. Here’s where we think the experience could have been amplified a bit. You see, the chef menu and special menu functions have two tiers of sub options within them; they’re numbered, and you scroll to the said number required according to what you desire to do. There is a handy guide printed on the Supreme Chef, but to see it you need to open the door and that’s sort of counter-intuitive after or during a pre-heating process. We would personally like some graphics and wording on the digital display itself to make this process a bit more streamlined as it is on our Hotpoint Class 9 Oven.
The main functions are Mircowave, Grill, Forced Air, Dual Crisp, Jet Defrost, Combi, Keep Warm and Dual Crisp Fry. Special functions located right of the knob are Chef Menu, Auto Clean, Special Menu, Stop TT. Chef Menu is similar to the auto recipes feature we are fond of in the Hotpoint Class 9 SI9 891 SP IX Oven, meaning the appliance controls the parameters, like cooking time and temperature, for dishes such as pizza, lasagne, scrambled eggs or meringues. There’s 30 options to choose from in total and we get into how well it works below.
General microwave functionality is straightforward and speedy, due to the 900W power and, as previously mentioned, the plentiful space - making baking four potatoes at once an easily achievable task with a noticeable lack of any cold spots thanks to two microwave entry points. Paired with the genuinely good grill, it allows for the browning of ready meals and pastries. But the most interesting element of the Hotpoint MWH 338 SX Supreme Chef Microwave is how it uses all its functions in one go, thus perhaps rivalling air fryers and ovens.
Chips: To make a comparison we air fried some potatoes in the Russell Hobbs Purifry (one of our favourites for cooking chips) and then we tested out the Hotpoint Dual Crisp Fry feature which uses a combination of forced air, microwave and grill. We used the same potatoes, amount of oil and thickness of cut. The first thing to note is that because the crisp plate doesn’t feature ventilation within the base, the air is directed to the sides and top of potatoes only and contrasts the advantageous design of most air fryers that have cutouts. The results aren’t too dissimilar, but noticeably the chips need turning during cooking as prompted by the screen, and the level of crispness isn’t quite what we get from a dedicated appliance. However, we had perfectly tasty results that are indeed crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle - without using more oil than two teaspoons!
Pizza: We chose to make fresh homemade pizza dough at home for this one. After around 20 minutes it was perfectly cooked, with the base even in colour underneath and the toppings revealing quite a lot about the advantages of using the Hotpoint Supreme Chef. The mozzarella was slightly golden and harder ingredients such as the peppers, tomatoes and olives all gained that slightly caramelised quality that a microwave itself would simply never be able to achieve.
Vegan Meringue: Possibly due to the fact that this used Aquafaba instead of egg whites, the meringue cooked far quicker than the automated time of roughly 40 minutes. We found ourselves taking it out at around 30 minutes as the top was a slight dusty gold and the interior was a bit more like Italian meringue - perfectly tasty!
We started out by considering who exactly the Hotpoint Supreme Chef microwave is for; first thinking the cramped kitchen, the boxy guest room and humble student digs would be the ideal candidates. Whilst this is true, we were surprised to discover that even lavish larger kitchens would benefit from such a genuinely good all-in-one option that doesn’t sacrifice performance and can be an authentic or even an additional oven - we just need to overlook the slightly quirky control system.