Soak the clams in a bowl with cold water and kosher salt for an hour. Wash them through afterwards. Heat a large pan over med-heat with the garlic and 2 tbsp of oil.
Fold in the clams, cover with a lid and cook for about 5 mins, until the shells open and they release the liquid. Turn the heat off and discard the garlic.
Once ready, filter the clams liquid and set aside. Remove the clams from their shells and set them aside, use some of the shells for decoration and discard the rest.
Heat a large pan with 1 tbsp of oil over med-heat. Add in the carrots, celery and onion, thyme and bay leaves. Saute for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
Add in the potatoes and bacon, stir fry for a min, then pour in the clams liquid. Cover with a lid and cook until the potatoes are softened.
Pour in the double cream, season to taste and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and discard the bay leaves.
Blend the mixture until smooth. Transfer back to the pan, add in the reserved clams, sprinkle with parsley and chili and season to taste.
Stir all ingredients, then divide the chowder among plates and serve with toasted ciabatta.