A commitment to eating and drinking is almost an official pre-requisite to working at Broadsheet. You have to love the dishes, the dining rooms and the people working the pass – you also have to be willing to put your waistline and your wallet on the line to take a proper bite out of the local dining scene.

From crumpets and cheesecakes to pizzas and show-stealing side dishes, these are our team’s favourite dishes of 2024 (so far).

House crumpets with preserves, whipped butter and honey, Il Lido

I was very self-conscious as I sat at Il Lido – the loser lugging a laptop next to all the still-wet swimmers and little white dogs of Cottesloe. I ordered the crumpets and was prepared to pick at them slowly over several hours while I looked out to the sea and hogged a table and the free wi-fi. But from the first bite it was clear this wasn’t something I had the self-control to savour. A trio of perfectly golden-brown pucks with foamy holes perfect for soaking up butter. – Lucy Bell Bird, national assistant editor

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Napolitaines, Pardon My French Treats

Pardon My French Treats is a small suburban powerhouse serving Mauritian and French pastries. Napolitaines are a Mauritian traditional treat – two pieces of shortbread with sweet jam sandwiched inside, covered in icing. Buttery, crumbly and sweet – it’ll bring a smile to any afternoon tea. It’s my new go-to when I can’t decide between a jam scone and biscuits for my afternoon pick me up. – Ange Yang, contributor

Basque cheesecake, Sonny’s

I’m not a dessert person but I’ll make the six-hour round trip from Margaret River to order the Basque cheesecake at Sonny’s. A modest wedge of perfectly tempered cheesecake, with a dark top and, well, not much else. No sauce, no crumb, no coulis, no garnish. Just cake. It presents like a gooey wheel of Camembert but dissolves in the mouth like rich mascarpone cream. A burnished top adds a hint of bitterness, smoke and charcoal, but it’s far from overpowering. – Jono Outred, contributor

Taiwanese herbal jelly, Dessert Garden

Dessert Garden’s herbal jelly is a bowl of chewy sweetness that evolves with each mouthful. When the tray of jelly hits the table, the jelly – a deep brown mass the colour of Coke with orange and purple taro lining the edges of the bowl – trembles slightly. Alongside it is a thumb-sized container of milk; when I pour it over the bowl, a stream cascades over the ridges of the jelly. Seeing the colours of the bowl transform makes me feel a childish glee. When my spoon pierces the jelly, it’s like splitting mountains. Suddenly, rivers of white are flowing and pooling, making lakes where my spoon lay. Then, the taro balls roll in, crashing into the milk and unearthing a crunchy layer of ice. By my fourth spoonful, the crunchy shaved ice has melted into a sweet brown slushie-like liquid. The jelly has split into islands divided by pools of creamy sugar and ice, and what’s left of the orange taro balls shines in the bowl like nuggets of gold. – Ange Yang, contributor

Margherita pizza, Forno Antico

The margherita is the standard by which any pizza outlet can be judged. You can call it boring, the missionary position of pizza, whatever, but with the margherita there’s nowhere to hide. That’s why it’s my go-to. The first thing I noticed was the smell: pure, tomatoey goodness wafting in thick, hazy curls. The margherita comes with just the right amount of tomato sauce: not so thin you can’t taste it, nor too thick it drowns the tastebuds in a lake of lycopene. Cheese is dusted over the top like a fresh layer of snowfall, and the basil is crisp and fresh with no signs of wilting or scorching. The real test of quality comes at the crust. On the outside, smoky woodfired flavours are imprinted with the occasional, delightful scorch mark. Inside it’s soft, fluffy and beautifully honeycombed. – Tom de Souza, contributor

Warm white beans, Yiamas

Side dishes are so often overlooked but the warm white bean salad from Yiamas deserves to be centre stage. Creamy, unassuming and exciting, it’s a superbly executed side that will demand the attention of the table – no small feat when you consider that, other than a sprinkling of sumac adding a touch of tang and a crimson hue, it’s almost entirely beige in colour. Scratch the sumac-topped surface to find a comforting quantity of warm white beans joined by salted onion and grated hard-boiled eggs. Dig a little deeper and you’ll eventually uncover a handful of black olives, an unexpected yet welcome salty surprise adding dramatic black to the off-white medley of proteins. – Madeline Wallman, contributor

Squid watermelon, Katzu Katzu

I see your raised eyebrow, but this combination of sweet and savoury just works. There’s something about how the crisp freshness of the watermelon bounces off the lightly battered squid. It’s still on the menu despite the transformation from Japanese restaurant Yuuma to casual Katzu Katzsu, so it’s well worth the try. – Ange Yang, contributor

Pumpkin chimichanga, Frida Mexicana

I had been on the hunt for Italian food, but as soon as I walked past Frida’s my cravings turned spicy. I initially baulked at the huge portion but quickly steeled myself for the challenge. Rich pumpkin, gooey mozzarella, salsa, beans, sour cream and guacamole inside a deep-fried tortilla, served with a red cabbage salad. The side of green salsa for dipping elevated the explosive taste. The flavours were intense but perfectly complementary. The textures played well together, from the crisp tortilla to the pumpkin that dissolves on your tongue. – Jasmine Loda-Batey, contributor

Almond croissant-pain au chocolat, Merchant & Maker

Like many of us, I require a sweet treat multiple times a day, just as a little pick-me-up. Usually an almond croissant scratches this itch. When done right, it’s paradoxically light and indulgent. But what could make an almond croissant better? Chocolate, of course. Merchant & Maker in Dunsborough has created a pastry that blends elements of an almond croissant and a pain au chocolat. It’s a pastry ensemble that feels like an old friend and a new lover. It’s the perfect melange of the traditional and the contemporary. The exterior, a reptilian almond crust, is browned to perfection and wraps around the flaky pastry of the croissant while oozing dark chocolate. This combines with the decadent almond filling. – Bailey Petts, contributor