The Obedient Wives Club

Jacky asks:

Do you know which “Greenwich restaurant” is the HQ for this organisation? I’d hate to give them my custom by mistake!

In case you’re in the dark about the Obedient Wives Club, read this article on the BBC Website. It’s pretty radical stuff and, yes, Greenwich does have the dubious pleasure of housing the movement’s HQ. It’s called Nur Mohamed and it’s in the old Kerala Zone restaurant in Trafalgar Road. The cult’s raison d’etre is to convince Muslim women to act like high-class prostitutes so that their husbands won’t go to real ones. It’s also known as the Global Polygamy Club and I’ve been having quite a conversation with Sebastian, who’s actually been there, about it.

Seeing a new restaurant in East Greenwich, Sebastian and a few Malaysian pals went along to test it out – and let’s face it – wouldn’t any of us? I’d certainly been past it a few times and was most intrigued – especially when I went past in the mornings and the awning was pulled down over the window like a blind. I know that the old Kerala Zone used to have people sleeping in it – I went past one day when a particularly disgusting, multi-stained-with-heaven-knows-what secretions mattress was being removed from the kitchen (I don’t want to even think about who was sleeping on that – and in the kitchen – eeek!) Of course these owners are new – and I haven’t had the gall to lift the awning and take a peek myself (but oh, am I tempted…)

The first thing ‘a bit odd’ Sebastian noticed on entering was a large birthday cake. He was curious to know who the lucky recipient was and was told it was Global Ikhwan’s founder, of whom a large portrait can be seen on the wall. Nothing too strange about that – except that he died last year.

Sebastian says:

There was a plasma TV screening Muslim pop videos interspersed with interviews with Malaysian women followers talking how they’ve come to accept the polygamous marriages the cult’s committees arranged for them. An amusing diversion while waiting for your food…Except you might end up waiting for your food longer than you expect.

Granted I went with a group of 15 and we ordered a few dishes but my main failed to arrive despite my numerous reminders. I left 2 hours later without getting my food! (Maybe it was a ploy to get the wives in our group to see the joys of polygamy!)

Sebastian’s pals all being Malaysian, they were bound to have pretty high standards. He says it was ‘acceptable, given the price,’ but it sounds pretty iffy to me.

Our satay was undercooked (parts of it were red raw) though the peanut sauce was good. My curry puff was tasty. My friends who got the “paprik” rice/laksa dishes they ordered were not ecstatic but unoffended, though undercooked chicken appeared in some of their dishes.

Sebastian reckons that as long as you lower your expectations on the food front the visit could be quite entertaining, especially the dodgy videos. For my part, and admittedly I can’t speak from experience, I am less inclined to be so indulgent. The food may be just about acceptable, but I’m not sure I can say the same for the beliefs of the restaurant owners. There’s a point where lifestyle choice becomes coercion and I’d want to know that people, especially women, joined this cult from an absolutely personal decision.

16 Comments to “The Obedient Wives Club”

  1. Mike says:

    Leaving the OWC issues out of it, I can’t believe that the diners mentioned above didn’t have more of an issue with being served multiple dishes with raw chicken in them! Why is food poisoning so acceptable??!!

  2. Trevor says:

    We visited last week. Food was truly dreadful – it was cooked, but just bland. Not at all what I was expecting. Food certainly seemed an afterthought, with the wedding video seeming to be more important. Now I know why!!!

  3. Kate says:

    What part of ‘raw/undercooked chicken’ would any person in their right mind find ‘passable’ ?!?!

    I dont care if its smothered in black truffles and champagne butter… if its got raw chicken in it, then it is completely sub-standard and unacceptable! (Not to mention a health hazard!)

    I hope they mentioned their observations to the management and I hope they received a large chunk off their bill! (I’d have walked out by this point to be fair)

    Thanks for the head’s up – never touching that place!!

  4. Paul says:

    Jeez!! Noticed this place had sprung up a few weeks ago – initially there was no indication it did food, until the “Thai & Malasian Restaurant” sign was added. It just didn’t look right… The place always seems empty except for a couple of young women in face veils (eyes only).
    This shop site must be cursed – how many different owners has it had in the past 10 years? But here’s hoping for another new one soon!

  5. Neil says:

    Sounds grim on all levels.

  6. scared of chives says:

    We had the Kerala Zone Koakroach Korma – and now this….at least the coakroaches were cooked before

  7. Hitherqueen says:

    any coincidence that the google ad on this page is for muslim matrimonials?!

  8. jobeba says:

    Obedient Wives Club, love it!

    What a great idea.

    Do they accept non-Muslims?

  9. the squirrel says:

    so this gets pp from Greenwich Council, whereas the poor Turkish family who tried to open a genuine cafe in the BH Std were made to close it and I believe no food is allowed to be ‘cooked’ in Charlton Village’s only cafe, thanks to GC.
    Hope the Council look into this as Trafalgar Rd needs help, not fundamentalist matrimonial b*llox like this. They must have put ‘restaurant’ on their PP application.

  10. Wasn’t the Blackheath Standard cafe issue the one where the cafe was started in a building that had different permissions for use (if memory serves, an estate agent), the owners failed to apply for change of use, even after the council encouraged them to do so and only got closed when they still failed to apply? Or is it something else? The Kerala zone was a restaurant (however bad it may have been) and thus the council doesn’t have much say in the opening of another restaurant (however bad it may be) on a site that has just had a restaurant in it.

    However odious the beliefs of the owners, I’m not sure there’s much the council could have done in this instance.

  11. johnse18 says:

    An interesting flag design they have in the window. Basically the Stars and Stripes but with the Islamic star and crescent in place of the stars.

    This would seem to suggest political ambitions extending far beyond the bedroom …

  12. Mr M says:

    Would that be the Flag of Malaysia?

  13. Mazer says:

    If everyone ignores it, it will go out of business hopefully and disappear. Some good new business have opened recently on Trafalgar Road and this is not one of them! Plenty of curry to be had in Mehak or Gurha’s Inn, and very good value wagamama tyoe food to be had in the excellent family run ‘Zin’.

  14. johnse18 says:

    So – flag of Maylasia. I hadn’t realised. You learn something new every day,