I had an opportunity to enjoy the same while on a recent visit to the South, along with some friends. A few of my local friends highly recommended it as a must have before I go back. Restaurants like Sarvana Bhavan & Annapurna are the must-go-to-places to try the Sapad.
Served on a banana leaf, the banana leaf is laid so that the leaf tip is pointed left. Before the feast begins the leaf is sprinkled with water and cleaned by the diner himself even though the leaves are already clean. The top half of the banana leaf is reserved for accessories, the lower half for the rice. The lower right portion of the leaf may have a scoop of warm sweet milky rice Payasam, Kesari, Sweet Pongal or any Dessert items. While the top left includes a pinch of salt, a dash of pickle and a thimbleful of salad, or a smidgen of chutney.
In the middle of the leaf there may be an odd number of fried items like small circles of chips either banana, yam or potato, thin crisp papads or frilly wafers. The top right hand corner is reserved for spicy foods including curry, hot, sweet, or sour and the dry items.
I opted for the non-veg Sapad which included 3 different types of non-veg (only) gravies i.e. Fish, Mutton and Chicken along with a serving of pepper chicken and fried egg. Served in small buckets, you can help yourself to as much as you want of these delicious gravies.
Watching my neighbours, I too separated my rice into 3 different mounds and then tried each of the gravies with the rice. The fish gravy, was the best with mutton coming a close second. Vegetarians will definitely enjoy the veg offerings as they too are well made, especially the tendli cooked in coconut masala.
Unlike Mumbai or other cities where you may have tried South Indian meals, the meals here taste like homemade and with minimum of spices causing no heartburn or bloated feeling even after having 2-3 servings of rice.
The best part is the meals are light on the pocket with unlimited veg meals costing around 150/- while unlimited non-veg meals cost around 200/-
If you visit the south, do make it a point to try the Sapad.