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Kon Tiki (1962-1970), Oslo, Norway (restaurant)

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Name:Kon Tiki (1962-1970)

The Kon Tiki restaurant in the convention center Norway Trade Fairs was the country's first exotic - or overall "foreign" restaurant - and was quite a colourful splash in our bleak, still rather poor post-war country. The Kon Tiki museum had just opened in the same area of Oslo and Thor Heyerdahl had generously given his blessing to use the name on the new eatery.
The design for the interior was done by Erik Hesselberg, artist, navigator and crew member on the expedition. Hesselberg was the one that had created the famous mask for the big sail on the raft and thus created one of Tiki's most famous logos.
The walls were covered in bamboo. There were peacock chairs by every table. A palm was brought into the room and an artificial stream ran through it. Adjacent to the restaurant there was the Safari Bar, serving cocktails in "an African environment".
The menu consisted of rather traditional Norwegian plates, spiffed up with exotic juices and tastes: Duck marinated roasted in peanut oil with plum sauce. Flounder served with grapes, bananas, oranges, and pineapple.
Norway had not seen anything quite like it. "The Kon Tiki is alone worth the whole convention center", Aftenposten wrote the day after the opening.

It lasted until around 1970, when the bar sort of devoured the restaurant and turned into a disco called the Safari Club. Some of the original interior was kept, but all was lost during a fire in 1984. I've found some artifacts, mainly plates and bowls in thrift stores and online sales through the last fifteen years. But I was also told that a big tiki totem, designed by Hesselberg and Heyerdahl together, was rescued from the fire, only to be dumped in a trash container a couple of days later. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

The Kon Tiki on a not particularly busy day around the opening in 1962.

A color shot of the interior from a slightly different angle.

Some plates from my collection.

Contemporary ads for the bar and restaurant(s).

The designer, artist and original Kon Tiki crew member Erik Hesselberg interviewed by Aftenposten the day after the opening under the headline "Kon Tiki safe at bay".

Nice to see another Euro location on here

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