This part of town is the epicentre of the civil service and Quirinale is busiest at lunchtime, when you’re likely to overhear diners discussing the business of government. There’s a relaxing feel to the basement dining room, which is sensitively cloaked in white and beige, and the air of bonhomie is aided by staff who aim to ensure you enjoy your stay. Cooking is traditional. Some dishes (such as our fillet of venison with shallot crust, chestnut purée and cavolo nero) lack sparkle, and the quality of produce could be improved. However, braised octopus was a good match for the crunch of Tuscan spelt enriched with tomato sauce and pesto. To finish, there are a dozen Italian cheeses and desserts such as spiced pear and almond cake with caramel ice-cream. The sizeable wine list runs the length of Italy with forays into France – a reasonable choice is offered by the glass, though prices are on the high side. In all, we felt that, rather like the politicians who eat here, Quirinale tends to deliver less than was promised.