Montgomery's is a restaurant all about keeping things simple. Dishes are super minimal here, even with asterisks indicating items are "not for the squeamish," so don't expect steak and potatoes. The menu is divided into "bread and butter," "cold," and "hot" sections, so you could easily come here for a bottle of wine and conversation while simply sharing some bread and ordering a few small plates.
The whole atmosphere of Montgomery's is designed not to distract from the food, with super low lighting, white-washed walls and simple wooden tables.
The kitchen is at the front as soon as you walk into the restaurant, lending a sense of excitement at first, which cools as you proceed to the back dining area.
Husband and wife owners Guy and Kim Rawlings have devised an eclectic seasonal menu meant to highlight what Canadian cuisine has to offer. Ingredients are sourced locally. Every week Guy visits an Amish farm in the Kawartha Lakes, weeding their fields scouting for something interesting.
A whole section of just bread might seem quizzical, but it goes with the restaurant's core concept of showcasing real cuisine, done right from scratch using whole foods. All the bread is made in-house using flour from the Amish Hoffman community.
Montgomery's seafood is sourced from Honest Weight , and these marinated mussels with purslane ($14) are from Salt Spring Island. They're steamed with white wine and onion til they pop open, then that broth is chilled and combined with cold-pressed canola oil. They're bathed in this along with a vinaigrette of mustard, vinegar, red pepper and compressed parsley stem.
All that is topped with purslane, a common weed Rawlings finds in the Amish fields, and potato chips (made with a fancy sheeter that gets them super thin) seasoned with a dry mixture of herbs ground with salt.
The lettuce in broth ($3.50 pp) seems ludicrously simplistic. Curly endive leaves sit, however, in a complex blend of chicken, beef, and pork broths, spritzed with chamomile malt vinegar and completed with drops of smoked beef fat.
Montgomery's works with foragers like Vibrant Matter to get herbs like anise hyssop and hibiscus for their steamed eggplant ($10). Halved eggplants get a quick marinade flavoured with rose thyme and raw garlic, and they're topped with grated caramelized whey: a natural byproduct of cooking with milk, once caramelized it takes on a sour, salty flavour.
Photos by Jesse Milns