Written on: 10/06/2011
I bought my Britannia as a centerpiece for a new kitchen, and wanted something solid which would stand up well to regular catering for large groups. In the showroom I was impressed by the solid feeling doors and heavy pan supports which seemed in a different league to other "premium" brands on offer there such as Falcon. The cooker is a really solid piece of kit, and in 2 years of hard use I have had no problems with it whatsoever other than blown oven bulbs, but I guess ordinary light bulds don't last long either, so why expect those in a cooker to last any longer? Anyway they are cheap and easy to replace yourself. On delivery the rear upstand was missing, but a quick call to the retailer who contacted Britannia and one was delivered by courier the following day.
The Britannia cooks brilliantly, I love the powerful wok burner which is great not only for wok cooking but also for bringing large pans to the boil really quickly. My only critisism of the hobs would be that the small ring is not really small enough to give a really gentle simmer, I get round this problem using a £5 heat diffuser from the local hardware store. The chef top is great too, after a bit of trial and error! We soon worked out that food needs to be left long enough to crisp on the bottom before attempting to turn it. If you are careful and oil the food rather than the top itself spatter is kept to a minimum. Also it is surprisingly easy to clean the chef top - I wait until it is just warm, then pour a cup of water mixed with a few drops of washing up liquid over it while still in situ, and rub with a nylon scourer - everything literally comes straight off.
The only slight irritations I have found are the ovens which can smoke quite a bit if you regularly use them for roasts and other high fat food that spits. I think this is becuase modern ovens are so well sealed in order to make them energy efficient that the greasy vapour in kept inside and settles on every surface. I have seen "smoky ovens" as a complaint for many different brands. Also the top is fiddly to clean with lots of crevices that fill with crumbs and spilt liquids. It can be made to look as good as it did when new, but be prepared to mess about with toothbrushes etc! The cast irom supports are not supposed to be dishwashed, but I do, and they seem to emerge unscathed and clean, but the aluminium burner rings really can't go through the dishwasher and do get really dirty with burnt on food. These are a nightmare to clean as they have a brushed finish and only a metal scourer and loads of elbow grease will bring them up, but this does scratch them.
Overall I am very happy with my Britannia, which has coped well with day to day cooking as well as catering for huge events (biggest so far 140 people!) It probably gets more use in a year than most cookers do over their lifetime, yet still looks good (with a fair amount of effort!) As yet no faults, door hinges still like new, still cooks like it did on day one. If they could sort the smoky ovens and make the top more streamlined I would buy another, but having said that I think it will be a long time before I will be shopping for a replacement...
Tip - Look for an ex display model like mine and save £1000! The cooker is robust enough for the opening and closing of doors in the showroom to have made no impact.