Montgomery's

The first signs aren’t promising: a rickety door leading into a fluorescent-lit antechamber, the odour of vinegar thick in the air, and a cave-like dining room of industrial carpeting and mismatched teak. You could be in a church soup kitchen, not one of the most-anticipated restaurants of the year.

Guy Rawlings first grabbed attention during his stint at Dundas West’s Brockton General, where he made magic from humble ingredients. He left to help manage Bar Isabel, among other gigs, and his fans waited five long years for him to return to a stove. At Montgomery’s (it’s the family name of his wife, Kim), he’s pre­occupied with pickled veg and air-cured meats, and the result is one of the most peculiar and fascinating menus around.

Salt-baked celeriac root with garlic aïoli and parsley salad.

Supersour fermented cabbages and roots serve as a snack. He douses slices of field tomatoes in a hot sauce, and yet a sprinkling of dried mint is what catches you off guard. His fixation on the labour-intensive and handmade—he brews his own vinegar to brush on a salmon collar, repurposes left­over whey from cultured cheese in a vegetable dish and smokes the mustard that accompanies a goose creton—pays off. Once you’ve joined Rawlings’s cult, all is heavenly.

996 Queen St. W., 647-748-4416, montgomerysrestaurant.com

Sunchokes with water-buffalo fresco cheese, green apricot and sorrel.