A trendy pop-up restaurant has outraged customers with 1970s Playboy nudes plastered on the back of toilet doors.

Revealing magazine shots and explicit articles were used as wallpaper in the unisex toilets at Miss Pings, a Vietnamese eatery in the City Works Depot in Auckland.

A spokesman from the Department of Internal Affairs said the raunchy material breached an R18 restriction law and the restaurant could be asked to remove the display.

Customer Judi Lambourne complained after seeing children at the restaurant that also has ping-pong tables for customers to use. Her complaint led to staff covering some of the images but not before a visit from anti-exploitation group Stop Demand.

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What's behind the door at Miss Pings? Photo / Doug Sherring.
What's behind the door at Miss Pings? Photo / Doug Sherring.

Spokeswoman Denise Ritchie said the original uncensored display was inappropriate and illegal.

"Some of the images show the genital area and breasts and would, legally, be classified R18 or R16 and legally be required to be cellophane wrapped," Ritchie said. "These could be seen by children. In fact, one reviewer did take a child there."

That reviewer, "Lynn" on the Cheap Eats website, dined with her young daughter. She praised the food but warned prospective customers of the X-rated loos.

Miss Pings co-owner Anthony Browne said there had been no other complaints. Staff had covered up the more explicit pictures with cut-outs of ping-pong paddles and plastic film.

Browne said they decided to cover up the more explicit pictures and added pictures of near-naked men, with their genitals covered, to "balance the display".

"We don't get a lot of children in but we decided to cover up some of the pictures because we don't want to make even one child feel uncomfortable," Browne said.

The restaurant had never set out to offend. "We thought they were more interesting than looking at a plywood wall when sitting on the toilet," Browne said.

A spokesman from the Department of Internal Affairs said the uncensored images could be considered objectionable if seen by a child.

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"In this sort of situation the Department of Internal Affairs would contact the restaurant and let them know they need to take the pictures down in order to comply with the law."

The altered images would need be viewed by the Classification Office to see if they could be displayed unrestricted.