Our eight days in San Agustinillo were relaxing, peaceful, and one of the highlights of our Mexican trip. The only downside was that as we travelled there in the off season, many of the restaurants were closed, so we only had the choice of three or four places. But Un Secreto was so good that I’m positive it would have been in our top eateries there anyway, even in the middle of peak tourist season. On the main street at night, and on the sand by day, Un Secreto is run by the effervescent and chatty Julien, who learnt his recipes from watching his mum cook good, simple French food back home in France. He’s brought the recipes to sleepy little San Agustinillo, including (my personal favourite) spaghetti with fish in a creamy tomato sauce, fish cooked in foil with cream and basil, skewers of prawns and fish and delicious calamari (Dan’s favourite).
The restaurant’s décor is sparse – there’s a few wooden tables covered with various tablecloths, flowers, and a great mix of music with a lot of Norah Jones playing. It’s dimly lit and Julien serves the tables casually in thongs, shorts and t-shirt. His two cooks in the kitchen, he tells us, have mastered his mother’s recipes so well that they make the food better than he can now make it! Despite being simple, homely food, it’s lovingly prepared, and oh so delicious. The pasta sauce, although I’m sure is terrible for me, is so rich and flavoursome we keep dipping bread in it until the plate doesn’t even need to be washed, it’s that clean.
The calamari was tender and lightly battered, the croquettes of shrimp and fish tasty and juicy. Dan heard another table eating the bruschetta – I say “heard” because he remarked on how fabulously crunchy the bread seemed, and when we ordered it it was deliciously crunchy with heaps of garlic and fresh tomatoes and basil. Perfect simple beach food with a twist.