If you should find yourselves in the midst of the Médoc, in the village of Lamarque, waiting for a ferry to cross the Gironde to Blaye you could do worse than while away an hour or two on the terrace of L'Escale - a refreshingly basic restaurant that is the best place to dine hereabouts. Indeed, it is the only place to dine hereabouts. Surprisingly, for a hostelry in the centre of legendary wine country, the wine list here is minimalist in the extreme. Service, however, is friendly and prompt and a pichet of nameless and blameless Bergerac Sec went down very well with a starter of bulots et crevettes from a similarly Spartan 15 euro menu de jour. Our main courses of grilled sardines with a ratatouille of courgette, celery and tomato, and mutton chops with garlic and parsley and a great gratin of haricots blancs were hearty, well-judged and generous. A half-bottle of Château Fontesteau: Haut-Médoc 2004 was perfectly potable and didn't break the bank at 12 euros. Uncharacteristically we declined an inclusive cheese course but the coffee was excellent. The total bill came to 46.5 euros which wouldn't get you off the nursery slopes of the wine list in the region's swankier establishments. Tom felt sufficiently sated to pose for a photograph. The great question here being - what do you think of that beard?