Faced with crispy toast with sweet and sour seaweed from the sky

Facing Heaven, a new Chinese-inspired vegan restaurant near London Fields, is much like Mao Chow’s cooler older brother, founder Julian Denis’ former restaurant. With its vibrant neon lights and cool, dipped furnishings, it serves up loud, colorful renditions of much-loved regional Chinese dishes. Its seaweed toast has been all the rage since it opened. “It’s like normal shrimp toast, but on steroids,” says Denis. “It’s a little meaner.” He explains what makes it such a good dish.

The kitchen

“We coat the bread with white sesame seeds and fry until golden brown. This is where the magic happens: you end up with crispy, sweet and sour bread.

The sauce

“This is our take-out take on a classic Chinese curry sauce. But it’s much more fragrant, because we add lime leaves, fresh lemongrass and coconut milk.

The atmosphere

“It’s definitely hand food. It’s a good snack if you drink a beer. You get the crunch of toast and a touch of the ocean from the creamy, flavorful seaweed mix.

The bread

“We use sweet Jamaican hard bread from a bakery on Kingsland Road. We cut it into thick slices and dip it in a mixture of Chinese vinegar, sugar, soy, garlic and bay leaves.


“We mix in grilled nori seaweed and add vegan shrimp for a bouncy texture. We incorporate ginger, garlic, spring onions, Shaoxing cooking wine and homemade mayonnaise.

1a Bayford St. £7.

More from our Hype Dish series:

Roti King’s buttery, flaky and fragrant roti canai.

Juicy tab of Café Cecilia with pepper sauce.