By The Drum Team, Editorial

February 29, 2012 | 2 min read

Manchester studio The Neighbourhood has created an exclusive animated world for customers who book at Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck restaurant.

One month before arriving at the restaurant, which can be booked up for months in advance, guests will be sent an email inviting them to enter this fantasy world.

Then a film, narrated by John Hurt, takes the viewer through a magical world of dishes they will discover when they arrive in Bray.

Blumenthal said: "The Fat Duck is the type of restaurant you may only ever eat in once, and I wanted to create that almost childlike feeling of anticipation beforehand.

"In order to achieve this, I needed to push the dining experience beyond the traditional time we spend inside the restaurant at the table. If I could use a metaphor to explain the feeling I hoped to create for my guests, it would be ‘like a kid in a sweetshop,’ so with that in mind an idea started to develop."

The concept has been in development for some years as a means to counterbalance the restaurant's "extremely busy reservation process".

It was The Neighbourhood's job to realise Blumenthal's vision of an Alice in Wonderland-style fantasy world. The studio worked with Zelig Sound to create the audio while Love's Dave Bevan wrote Hurt's narration.

Jon Humphreys, The Neighbourhood's creative director, said: "I believe we have created something extremely unique that captures the magic and wonder of Heston's world.

"The narrative takes the audience on a journey of surprise descriptive cues that the diner will then discover in their visit. The animation flows in a surreal technicolour dream, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

"By expressing the child like sense of wonder that we all possess, it seems to make people of all age groups and backgrounds smile from ear to ear when they see it: like a kid in a sweetshop."