Add 1/4 cup olive oil to a high-sided pan with a lid. Add the minced garlic, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and thyme bundle. Heat pan over medium heat and cook, being careful not to burn the garlic, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the clams and wine and turn the heat to high. Cover and steam until the clams have fully opened, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the clams to a glass bowl and return the liquid, thyme bundle and bay leaves back to the pan. Remove most of the clams from their shells and set aside. Reserve the remaining clams in their shells for garnish.
Drop the pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to make sure pasta does not stick to the pot, until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Increase the heat to medium under the sauce and add the lemon zest and juice and clam juice. Taste for seasoning and simmer. Add the drained pasta, shelled clams and 2 pats of butter. Toss to combine. Remove the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Sprinkle with the herbs, a handful of grated Parmesan and a drizzle of oil. Toss to fully coat the pasta.
Preheat the broiler.
Melt the remaining 4 pats butter in a saucepan together with the garlic. Brush the bread with the garlic butter and toast in the broiler for about 2 minutes.
Divide the pasta into 2 bowls and drizzle with the remaining pan sauce. Garnish with the reserved clams, a sprinkle of Parmesan and a slice of garlic bread.