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I, like many people, love sandwich toasties, especially when they are crammed with my favourite filling, usually cheese and something. So when my latest sandwich toaster decided to give up the ghost due to some of the sandwiches ingredient dripping down the back, along the wire and somehow into the electrics, which didn't do it any good at all. But to hold my hands up I have to take full responsibility for that little mishap, mainly due to the fact that I think I over filled the sandwich with a little too much Red Leicester and a few too many onions, plus, I think I left it in a little too long and it, technically, cooked more than once, in fact it cooked around five times if my calculations are anything to go by for the amount of time I forgot it was in there, sorry, I mean the amount of time it was in there, not forgotten about by me, honest.
Anyway, with this little electrical fault, and believe me, trying to 'unglugg' (if that's a word?), melted cheese from electrical connections isn't a pleasant job and really should just be left alone and the device affected thrown straight in the bin, as I did.
So I was then stuck without a sandwich maker to keep my addiction at bay, but luckily I remembered that I had one stuck away in a cupboard in the garage, so I dug it out and give it the once over, which didn't take too long as it was almost as clean as it would have been from new.
The sandwich toaster which I had pulled from the depth of my garage cupboard, and the one which I have been using ever since, is in fact from a well known company called Breville, with the machine itself being called the VST004, (not the best of names but it's not the name you're after is it? It's what the unit does. If it was up to me I'd have called this something like the 'Breville silver apex deluxe with built in cut and seal technology', but I'm not in charge of the naming of brands in Breville so the VST004 will have to do).
Anyway, the silver apex deluxe... sorry, I mean the VST004 sandwich toaster can cook two sandwiches at once, creating four triangles by using four pieces of bread.
It has something called 'Cut and Seal Technology' which is supposed to slice through the bread so that the four triangular toasted pieces are sealed all the way around, sadly this is not the case but that's not a problem as I find that al of these types of machines are all the same.
It's quite funky in design, with the top looking a little like a steel roof, creating a bit of an apex towards the middle rear, (hence the name I gave it... clever? No?)
The black locking latch is simple to use and manages to lock into position, allowing the cooking of your favourite sandwiches easy and quickly.
The four rubber feet grip the work surface like they are glued into position, although they're not of course as you can pick the unit up with ease.
It's not massive, being 225mm wide by 110mm high and 275mm deep, so can be used in the smallest of places, which is ideal for people like students or those in shared houses, and as it weighs a mere 2.3kg it is easy to pick up and throw into a cupboard.
The outside casing is a silver coloured plastic and can get a bit hot when in use, but not hot enough to melt it as that would be dangerous and just shear stupid really, but the handles stay remarkably cool which to me is pretty strange indeed.
The plates are non stick and can be removed for easier cleaning, coming out with a flick of a catch on the sides and a pull of the plates themselves, allowing the thorough cleaning of both top and bottom without having to scrub away too much, plus they are actually dishwasher safe for us lazier people.
As for the depth of the trays themselves, this was a little bit of a disappointment as they are not as deep as some sandwich toasters that I have owned. In fact, this one can not accommodate much in the way of 'chunky' fillings without the danger of overspill. Luckily I love plain cheese 'toasties' so I'm happy, but if you want to stuff your sandwich with lots of meat, or even
Sadly, the plates don't actually cut the toasties into triangles, not all the way through anyway, but they do indent a groove into the bread deep enough so that they are easy to separate with a bit of a pull, or as I do, the use of a Pizza cutter.
Using it is as easy as using any other sandwich toaster, in fact it's as easy as using a normal toaster really, only with a bit more of an adventurous side when it comes to deciding what to put into your toasty.
It takes a couple of minutes to reach the optimum temperature before I get to put my buttered bread onto the bottom plates, which sometimes seems like a lifetime, there is a little light on it which lets you know when it has reached the right temperature so there's no need for any guess work. Then it takes about another four minutes or so to actually cook the toasty to perfection, (this depends on how toasted you want your food of course but I like mine a golden shade of brown and not like the same shade as a Dark Oak cabinet).
It opens up to a 90° in a clam like fashion, with the hinges begin discretely positioned to the rear of the device, so that the bread can be placed onto the lower plates without burning your hands on the top plate.
When closing it I do have to press down on the lid itself, but this depends on how much filling I've dropped into the sandwich itself, but a little bit of pressing and I can easily lock the lid into position, sealing the sandwiches together and locking the filling inside, (almost).
After use, and once it's cooled down enough to be cleaned and put away, the electric cable wraps around the little notches that at cut into the legs, fitting quite snuggly around indeed, although the plug doesn't have anywhere to slot into so I have to either let it flop about or try and push it under a section of the cable. And the 'compact' size of it makes it very easy to store away inside the smallest of cupboards, making it ideal for student digs or even for a small family with a craving for quick tasty snacks, like I have.
In all it's not the biggest of sandwich toasters, and it is shallower than my old one, but it can still make a succulently filled warmed up sandwich without having to scrimp too much on what you put into it.
As for the price, well, I can't quite remember how much I paid for this one, and to be honest I can't actually remember buying it, ( I just hope the wife's not been at her five fingered shopping trips again...only kidding), but after a quick check online I found it sells for around the £30.00 mark, which, for a Breville branded device, is not too bad at all.
The VST004 is a great 2 Slice Sandwich Toaster from Breville featuring the new external clean hinge design pop out non stick plates for easy cleaning in the dishwasher and a cut and seal system suitable for all different sizes of bread / It will also stand upright for compact storage has non slip feet and cord storage. / Breville VST004 Easy Clean Sandwich Toaster / Short name: Breville VST004