Breakfast used to be a rather boring affair – a bowl of nondescript cereal or a couple of pieces of dry toast was all that was offered. But these days, espresso, macchiato or cappuccino might be on the menu beside your choice of bagel, croissant or baguette to toast and then dress with a variety of condiments. It is therefore appropriate that a new style of toaster that may suit our changing culinary habits has entered the kitchen - Bodum’s Flatbed Toaster. It can not only toast a piece of humble bread, it can also warm the most delicate of French pastries and take care of late-night munchies and cravings – just don’t try and find the toaster slots!

There's been some interest in the concept of the see-through toaster but it's yet to come to fruition. However, the Bistro toaster has broken all the rules of toasting in the kitchen. This machine allows you to defrost or toast any size of bread or toast-able foodstuff, whatever the thickness - on its back - what? not in a slot! Haven't they been doing that with hamburger buns forever? The bread (or day-old pizza) is placed on the stainless steel surface and using the desired heat level is toasted or defrosted as required. The dial offers different browning methods and the crumb catcher is easily removed for an easy clean-up. Too easy.

The slimline toaster also looks good on the bench-top companion and comes in a variety of colors which are all teamed with a slick stainless steel finish. The design may not matter too much when you want late-night pizza but may assist when you need to provide a great looking breakfast.

The Bodum Flatbed Toaster can be purchased for US$79.95 from Bodum.