Known by some as the mandarin’s mandarin, he is reputed to be the only person in Whitehall to fully grasp the complexities of the British negotiating position.
Officially, Mr Robbins heads the Cabinet Office Europe Unit.
It was then, when we walked into the bar, we realised Olly Robbins was also in the same hotel. He too was having a drink.
He was with two colleagues in the bar and could be clearly overheard by other guests as he gossiped about Brexit, the cabinet and MPs.
He was speaking in such a manner that you didn’t have to listen hard to hear him.