The Tefal OptiGrill is an electrically heated grill similar to the George Foreman fat-reducing grills and Cusinart griddle/grill combo. Tefal claims it will cook steak to restaurant quality and if you forget to take something out the night before to defrost, it will even cook meat straight from frozen.
At £150, it’s not the cheapest health grill available but if you can find room for its hulking body, it does deliver tasty results.
If you are hoping for a kitchen gadget that's sleek and stylish, you may be a little disappointed when you take the OptiGrill out of the box. It's a hulking beast of a machine and we had to sacrifice either the toaster or the kettle to find enough room for it on the kitchen surface. It's only available in one size, but does offer plenty of room for four or five pieces of meat on the 600cm2 cooking surface. Weighing 6kg, it's significantly heavier than a family size George Foreman grill (2.7kg).
Much of that extra bulk is down to the predominantly metal lid, which has a handle with an almost clamp-like force to make sure food is pressed down and cooked evenly. Elements like the coiled wire around the back and the prominent handle adds to its industrial-looking design. Despite the size we do actually prefer its design to the glossy plastic Foreman.
The OptiGrill's controls sit on the chunky handle. Left to right there's the On/Off button and dedicated modes for defrost, burger, chicken, bacon, sausage, steak, and fish. There's also a manual mode and finally an OK button when you are ready to start cooking. Right at the end is the LED cooking indicator that uses glowing LEDs to represent stages of the cooking process.
Lift open the grill and you’ll find the removable non-stick plates with nice large grooves to create those distinct cooking lines. The bottom plate is slightly angled so any excess oil can slope down into the dripping tray. The plates can be clipped in and are easy to take out and clean under the tap or in the dishwasher.
Leaving it for a few hours, or even a week as was the case on a few occasions, it takes very little effort to clean away the remains of a burger or chicken breast. Even the spacious dripping tray is easy to wash, especially as there's no need to add oil before placing food on the grill plates.
Inside the box, you'll also find the instruction manual and most importantly the colour-coded cooking guidelines that you definitely need to keep hold of when you get going.
The key feature of the OptiGrill is the automatic sensor cooking. The benefit of this is that the grill can adapt the cooking temperature depending on the thickness of the meat to cook several pieces of meat at the same time evenly. This means food should cook thoroughly and you won't need to lift the lid to see how it's progressing.
This works in tandem with the LED Cooking Level Indicator over on the right that alerts when food is cooked correctly. There's pre-heating (pink), start of cooking (Blue/Purple), rare (Yellow), medium (Orange), and then well done (Red). The indicator beeps at every stage of the cooking process and if you are aiming to prepare something well done and forget about it, the grill moves into a warming stage and stops cooking.